Saturday, August 8, 2015

Credit Cards On Ice: The First Step To Controlling your Credit Card Debt

Today's article is in celebration of a personal financial achievement.  I have paid off a credit card!  One down, one to go!

There are a couple of wonderful strategies for paying of credit cards that I'd like to share with you over the next few posts in hopes that you might find one that works for you: the debt snowball and the smallest balance first methods.  Regardless of which method you choose, the first step is the same.

Freeze your spending...  Literally!  Take your credit card out  of your wallet, place it in a freezer bag, fill it with water, and put it in the freezer.  Strange sounding advice right?  I heard of someone doing this once, and I though it was brilliant.  Besides, this strategy is very intentional.  There is absolutely no way that you can impulsively buy things on credit if your credit card is in the middle of a block of ice.  You will have to sit and wait for it to thaw out.  In the mean time, you will have enough time to really consider if you really need that item you are thinking of buying.

Note, I said need rather than want.  If you are working on paying off your credit card debt, one of the most important things to work on is want vs. need.  If you need it,  you should have it built into your monthly budget, and should not use a credit card for it.  If it is a want, you should wait.  I have several wants that I am waiting for, but right now, indulging in those wants will keep me from my goal of being free from consumer debt.  Eventually, I will get some of those things, but right now, I am evaluating my wants.  For example, I want to be free from the burden of my credit cards.  I also want to go on a vacation, and have a couple of destinations in mind.  Right now, I know that if I choose the vacation, I will be saddled with my credit card debt for another year.  My desire to be free of my credit card payment overrides my desire to go on vacation.  Now that I have made this choice, I will be free of credit card debt by roughly the end of the summer.  This choice also means that next summer, I will not be in the same position.  At that point, I will have moved beyond the credit card debt issue, and be working on something else, which can include at the very least, a modest vacation.

Now, this may all sound great to you, but you are still unsure of whether or not to freeze your credit card.  Perhaps that sounds too extreme for you...  Okay, I get it.  At the very least, take the credit card(s) out of your wallet.  Lock them up somewhere.  If you don't carry them around with you, you cannot make an impulse purchase.  However, this will not save you from yourself when you are at home.  We live in a highly digital age, and you can buy almost anything from the comfort of your couch.  If you are not going to freeze your credit card, (or cut it up) you must be prepared to exercise a lot of willpower when it comes to online shopping.  If you have that kind of willpower, you have my blessing.  If you don't, the answer may be in your freezer.

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