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8 ways to avoid credit card debt

By Chinkee Tan

People love the idea of saving. We all have so many good intentions when it comes to saving.

However, the start could be a bit rough especially when there are factors that are hindering us from saving, like debt. The most common type of debt that interferes with our saving is credit card.

Owning a credit card isn’t a mortal sin, in fact, the plastic can come in handy but it can also cause tremendous financial setbacks when not used correctly. The fine line between being a wise credit card holder and being someone credit card companies are after because of debt is really dependent upon how the tricky plastic is used. You may have heard credit card debt stories from a friend or a loved one and it’s surely something you don’t want to find yourself in.

Here are eight ways to avoid credit card debt:

1. Reduce your credit limit

The higher the credit limit, the more chances of spending.

And why not, what’s keeping us from swiping away that plastic in exchange for something we really want, right? A R40,000 gadget won’t hurt our R100,000 credit limit, will it? Perhaps not now but definitely later.

So a voluntary decision of lowering our credit card limit can actually be an advantage to us in the long run. Furthermore, when our credit limit is lower, we will become more conscious of using the plastic.

2. Pay using cash

A considerable way of avoiding credit card debt is when we limit its usage. People who use cash instead of the plastic usually end up making wiser purchases than those who rely on their credit cards.

It makes so much sense since running out of cash would also mean stopping the spending. So when we only bring the amount for which we intend to use, we don’t make room for unnecessary purchases.

After all, handing over cash proves to be more agonizing than swiping away our credit cards, right?

3. Keep the plastic out of reach

Having easy access to our credit cards can cause more trouble than good. It’s almost like giving temptation an advantage.

Imagine getting tempted to purchase a P5,000 bag while having a credit card. All that’s left to do is to simply reach out for that plastic and you’ll have that bag! Easy breezy! Now imagine if that credit card was hidden somewhere in your house? What difference does that make to your finances? A huge one.

4. Pay your credit card dues on a weekly basis instead of the usual monthly schedule

Credit card bills are usually sent every month, just enough for you to forget what you purchased. You’d be surprised on how the things you used to believe you needed so much that made you reach for that plastic are the very things you don’t even remember now, or maybe disregarded!

And how painful would it be to pay for these things you don’t even like anymore?

Consider paying your dues on a weekly schedule instead of paying the credit card dues monthly, which is very troublesome especially when the amount is a bit high. This strategy can help us pay the dues in full and not simply the minimum amount required.

5. When faced with the urge to spend, go the other way

Wise spenders know how to avoid places that predispose them to spend. One sure way of avoiding credit card debt is staying away from places and situations that cause us to use the credit card.

Now we could be enumerating certain shopping malls in our head but online shopping sites are not exempted from this. In fact, online shopping has been attributed as one of the major avenues for credit card use.

6. Prepare for big purchases

Purchasing things that are quite expensive require planning. Getting used to reaching out for that credit card to handle expensive purchases could lead to credit card debt especially when the purchase was not included in the budget.

For instance, when your insurance premiums are enrolled to your credit card account for auto-payment, make sure that the money is ready as soon as the due is credited to your account.

7. Use a debit card instead

For people who dislike bringing cash, they can opt for a debit card instead.

While credit cards and debit cards look similar, they both offer very different services. Using a debit card instead of a credit card makes us more conscious about spending because it’s our actual money readily accessible through our plastic card.

So it’s practically spending what we have in the bank.

8. Swipe with caution

Credit cards are not at all evil. It’s how people use them that gives them the bad rep.

When used correctly, credit cards can even give us perks and freebies. If you trust yourself enough with credit card use, always keep in mind to swipe with caution.

THINK. REFLECT. APPLY.

Do you own a credit card? How do you manage your credit card use to avoid overspending and later on credit card debt? What is the most effective way (for you) to avoid credit card debt? In what way can a credit card debt affect your overall financial health?
“Procrastination is like a credit card:It’s a lot of fun until you get the bill” – Christopher Parker

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