3 Tips for Breaking Your Credit Card Addiction

by Fox Symes on April 8, 2013

Credit cards are one of the easiest and most common forms of debt that people find themselves getting into. It’s an addiction which is fuelled by how easy it is to use, and can escalate into a serious debt problem before you really know what has hit you. Breaking your credit card addiction isn’t easy but it is possible. Here are the top 3 tips on how you can live without your credit card debt.

Know Your Spending

To truly rid yourself of credit card addiction, you need to know why and how you are currently using your cards. Some people use credit for everyday things, such as dining out, buying clothes or other impulse purchases. Others might have a really great day-to-day budget, but are suddenly tempted by a big ticket item or travel experience that they can’t really afford.

Another scenario are the people who usually don’t use credit at all, but when faced with an emergency have to put it on the card and struggle to make a full repayment. How you deal with your credit card debt will depend on what kind of spender you are, so take some time to figure this out first.

Tighten Your Budget

Now that you know your spending habits, it’s time to give your budget a makeover to reflect your findings. If you’re the ‘everyday use’ person, cut up your cards. You should have enough in your saving for everyday items, and if you don’t, then you shouldn’t be buying it! If this sounds a little too drastic, and you still want to have the ‘safety net’ of a credit card to fall back on, try leaving it at home and use it for emergencies only.

If you’re the big ticket impulse spender, try and change your outlook. Save up over time for those big items or holidays, you will feel so much better about enjoying it rather than having the niggling feelings of guilt about the debt that you’ve just racked up on the card.

For the emergency spender, work on putting more of your savings into a special account dedicated to these situations. It might seem hard at first, but using your own money to cover emergencies instead of getting further into debt is a much better solution in the long term.

Whatever you choose to do to avoid using your card, don’t cancel the account as this can have a negative impact on your credit rating. This is why cutting up the card is so popular, as it is a physical demonstration of your dedication to rid yourself of credit debt, without harming your rating.

Make Repayments a Priority

Paying off your cards should be your number one priority. Once you have no money owing, you can work on living life without credit. Always try and pay more than the minimum repayment, as this will help you to tackle the full balance of your debt instead of just covering the interest. If you have a few cards, focus all of your efforts onto the one with the highest interest rate, or consider transferring all of the balances to your lowest interest card.

Getting into credit debt is easy, but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. With a bit of hard work and a good budget, you will find yourself freed from your credit card addiction. Avoid the temptation to ‘reward’ yourself for your accomplishments with more spending, and you will soon find yourself on the path to a secure and prosperous financial position.

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