Believe it or not, credit card addiction is a real thing, and a lot of people suffer from it for a number of reasons, and while it might seem like a ‘nice life problem’ credit card addiction can be financially crippling. It can get so bad to the point where some people even avoid opening their credit card bills due to fear of what they’ll find.
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If you find yourself in this predicament, we’ve got some tips that might help you to completely cure yourself of this growing problem:
1. Admit to the problem
As with any addiction, the first step to recovery is to admit that you have a problem, and since you’re reading this article you’ve probably realised that fact already. Your reasons for getting into the credit card trap may have been innocent enough, but through the passage of time things got out of hand and now you probably find yourself in a situation where you’ve got over 10 credit cards and don’t know how to make it stop. The fact that you never have enough money at the end of the month or are constantly afraid of receiving your bills, are just some of the symptoms of the problem, and admitting it to yourself is definitely a step in the right direction.
2. Cut down on the number of credit cards you have
At this point, you’ve probably gotten so attached to using your credit cards every time you make a purchase, that you’ll find it extremely difficult to let go of using them. However, you can just as easily cut up some of your cards and move on with your life as you did that old hairstyle from last season. And if you’re not able to go cold turkey just like that you could always try placing them in a sock drawer for a week and see how your spending habits changes when you don’t always have them readily available in your wallet. This practice has helped a lot of people to cut down on superfluous spending and can assist you to downsize on credit card use altogether.
You can further avoid the temptation of getting new credit cards after downsizing by throwing away any uncalled-for mail from your old credit card company. No matter how attractive an offer sounds, try by all means to resist the temptation to accept it, and remind yourself why you got rid of the cards in the first place- to reclaim your life.
3. Use debit cards and cash instead
As long as you have cash flow in your life, you’ll be able to survive without a credit card. If you’re one of those people who prefer to use cards instead of carrying cash, then debit cards are a great option as they come with the convenience of not having to carry cash around, but without the added stress of debt that comes with credit cards. Having cash in the bank also serves as security for emergency situations, and a lot of people have cash reserves that cover up to six months’ living expenses just in case life throws hem a curve ball.
4. Get a new hobby
A common remedy for getting over any addictive behaviour is to substitute it with another, less harmful, activity. The theory goes that a void is created the moment you let go of certain behaviour, in this case shopping with you credit card, so you have to fill that void with something else that’s more constructive. For example, you could take up reading and set a goal to finish x amount of books in a certain time period to keep it interesting. Just be sure to keep the new hobby as simple as possible, so that it doesn’t require that you make a credit card purchase, as that’ll just give you an excuse to start spending unnecessarily again.
“It would also help to inform your family and friends about your intentions to cut down on credit card spending, as it might mean less shopping trips and social engagements for a while you recover financially,” suggests Richard from Stella Settlements.
5. Get Counselling
There are certain non-profit organisations that offer credit counselling services as well as debt consolidation to help minimise your debt and make your monthly payments more accessible. Most reputable organisations of this nature will require you to sign a non-negotiable agreement which stipulates that you won’t be applying for any new credit lines while you’re participating in their debt repayment program, and Crown Money Management has some awesome suggestions on where you can find the crème de la crème of these fantastic organisations.
Wishing you all the best of luck to get your finances in shape.