Credit card debt can feel like the proverbial anchor around your neck.
There was a time when I lived for the credit card; I probably had every card you can think of. But a little more than 15 years ago, something happened to me that made me rethink using credit cards.
I was Christmas shopping, and I’d probably spend a few thousand dollars. I spent so much on those credit cards, that when I was buying the last gift, the cashier was required to call the credit card company, who asked her to put me on the phone.
When I took the phone, the customer service person on the other end asked me for some identifying information. When I asked her “is there a problem?” she simply said, “Oh no…there’s no problem. We just needed to verify that it was actually you using your card, because this is some unusual spending for this account.”
Now…granted; it was Christmas. And that’s exactly what I told the woman on the line. She understood, but it still made me stop and think, “what the hell am I doing?” It was like someone took me by the shoulders and shook me to my senses.
When I got home, I started looking at everything around my house, and thinking “I owe someone money for this…” I started thinking of credit cards as me still owing money for something that I was already using. I didn’t like that.
Big ticket items like houses and cars are different. But things like shoes and clothing, groceries, etc., I refused to put any of it on credit from that day forward.
I cut up all of my credit cards, and I started paying cash for everything, which forced me to create a budget, and stick to it. I have to say in addition, that as a direct result, I spent MUCH less money every month!
I replaced my credit cards (every one of them) with 1 card, and it’s not a ‘traditional’ credit card; it’s a Visa Debit card. So…if there’s no cash in the account, there’s no purchase 🙂 I felt (and feel) really good about that.
If you don’t want to actually cut up your credit cards, there’s another really great option; put them on ice!
Put your cards in a plastic bag, and put that bag in a container of water. Put that container of water in the freezer, and let it freeze solid.
Once you don’t have credit cards, you’ll absolutely NEED to create a budget. Make a list of the things that you absolutely have to buy and the things that aren’t a necessity in your household.
Budgeting is actually fun when you see that debt disappearing! Like I said, you don’t absolutely have to cut up the cards. As long as you’re not still using them while you’re trying to pay off the balances.