If you’re one of those people who like to “charge it” to their plastic card, chances are you’ve piled up a mountain of debt. And like most people who have spent their way into a financial corner, are probably don’t have the money to pay off your debt.
Credit card debt is a serious problem – a problem that won’t just simply go away on its own. Unfortunately, many people compound their financial problems by doing just that – ignoring it, because it’s such a scary and humbling experience to face it head on.
This is unfortunately a bad thing considering that people who are in debt need to snap back to their senses and assess whatever it is that they’ve still going for them and be ready to face their debt no matter how overwhelming a problem it appears to be. Okay, it’s time to get real and face the cold, hard reality that you’ve stumbled a bit and now it’s time to pick up the pieces. Not fun, but the sooner you start the sooner the oppressive weight of debt can be lifted from your life and you can go back to living again.
Clearly, the first step is stop using your credit cards to buy stuff. Give them a rest for goodness sake, exercise a little discipline and go back to only buying stuff you can afford, which of course translates into paying for things the old-fashioned way – with cash.
Surrendering your credit cards won’t be easy, especially for shopaholics like yourself, but then again if you would simply remind yourself that if you don’t do something soon you debt will balloon out of control and before you know it you’ll be filing for bankruptcy. It’s like the old car commercial that talked about getting your oil changed and doing a little preventive maintenance. The tag line was something like: “you can pay me now or pay me later” with the clear implication that you exercise a little discipline now (preventive maintenance) or pay me later (a much costlier bill like a new engine).
On the other hand, excessively high credit card debt, no matter how much it actually is, is not the end of the world – although it feels like it. A lot of people who have had the same problem have been given a second “financial” life after they stopped irresponsibly using credit cards.
Of course, they also put in the effort to setup a budget and prioritized paying off their and changed their spending habits to better reflect their income and most importantly – they did something completely foreign – they started to actually spend less than they made. So you see, all is definitely not lost but it will take some effort.
Once you decide to start taking financial responsibility it’s time to take action. Be friendly with your creditors and by friendly I mean asking for their advice on how you can restructure your debt into a plan that you can actually afford without having to starve yourself for years and don’t be afraid to ask for a big reduction in the interest you’re being charged and a little “forgiveness” in the amount of debt you owe – 50% reduction is good target.
Knowing that you’re actually interested in taking responsibility for your credit card debt shows a lot of maturity on your part and your creditors will most probably be more than happy to help you out because 50% of whatever you owe at a lower interest rate is better than the hope of getting 100% of nothing – as in you filing for bankruptcy.
Not that bankruptcy will eliminate all your debt, it won’t but this is not only a hassle for you it’s also a big hassle for your creditors. Although your creditors won’t give you the money to pay for your credit card debt, they can educate you in what you really need to know about fixing your finances: From learning how to discipline yourself from overspending, having a monthly budget as well keeping track of one’s expenses is extremely important.
If you don’t know these things it’s nearly impossible to exhibit proper financial responsibility and to bit the bullet and make the necessary changes. Once you’ve finally been given a fresh start with regards to your financial life, don’t even think of falling back to your same old habits ever again.
If your job doesn’t let you enjoy some of life’s luxuries then you better make a choice between having a lifestyle change or finding a better paying job or getting a second job. You have to make sure that your income, no matter how much it is, is more than you’re spending.
Remember, credit cards are not the problem; it’s your lack of discipline. Learn to exercise discipline and having a credit card or two is not a bad idea. Just be sure to payoff the balances each month and only use them as an alternative to always having to carry around a bunch of cash.