Are you having trouble keeping up with credit card payments? If you’re drowning in credit card debt and can’t see the light at the end of your debt tunnel, it’s time to take action. Your first step should be to stop using credit cards altogether (at least temporarily). Until you can gain control of your credit card spending, you’ll need to take a step back and look at where you’ve gone wrong. Take time to understand why your financial management is out of control and then seek ways to remedy the problem.
Know that your money behaviors could be contributing to your difficulties with money. Letting emotions and situations rule how you spend money could put you at a major disadvantage. For example, anger can cause you to blame others for your financial difficulty or cause you to make poor financial decisions (like stealing from your company because you think you don’t get paid enough). Here are three types of people who should avoid using credit cards.
1. The procrastinator
If you’re a procrastinator, you often see a bill and then reason you can just pay it later. As the bill pile on your desk grows larger, “later” turns into days, and then weeks. Before you know it, your bills are past due, and you’re scrambling to make payments. If this describes your behavior each month, you may want to get a handle on your organizational skills before attempting to use credit cards. Your first step should be to set up all of your bill payments to be automatically deducted from your bank account. This way you won’t have to worry about missing payments. Wait to use credit until you can commit to being responsible with payment deadlines.
2. The impulse shopper
Do you make a bee line for a store as soon as you hear about a sale? Do you have a wallet full of store credit cards? You should take a break from the plastic. Declare a fast from shopping by resolving to only use cash for at least 30 days. Also stay away from all of your favorite stores. If you have to, unsubscribe from the digital mailing list of the stores where you spend the most money. At the end of your financial fast, calculate how much money you’ve saved. Take this money and pay down a debt.
3. The emotional spender
Do you shop when you’re happy, sad, or anything in between? Emotional spending can get you deep in credit card debt. Resist the urge to reach for the plastic whenever you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed. If your emotional spending is significantly impacting your life, you may want to consider seeing a therapist who specializes in financial dysfunction. A financial therapist can help you get to the root of your problem and identify the reason for your emotional spending. You can look for a financial therapist by conducting a search on the Financial Therapy Association website. Searches can be conducted by state or therapist name.
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
- How Anger Can Hurt Your Finances
- Need Some Money Motivation? Go on a Financial Fast
- Money Lessons You Can Learn from Your Broke Friends