Credit card debt is something that many of us have become accustomed to. The reality is, the vast majority of American households not only have credit cards but carry balances on those cards from month to month. Unfortunately, much of this credit card debt is due to overuse of these cards. Taking this too far could put you right in the middle of a financial hardship. Another unfortunate twist to this entire thing is that understanding credit cards and debt is not a course taught in your average school. As consumers, we just try to wing it! Well, below is a little bit of guidance to help you avoid overusing your credit cards…
Know And Control Your Debt To Income Ratio
Your debt to income ratio is a factor included in the calculation of your credit score. And, for good reason! If you have too much debt for your income to afford to pay back, chances are, the lenders will have an extremely hard time getting their money back. It is important to keep your total credit card balances below 10% of your annual income. Doing so and budgeting properly, you should have no problem paying your debts back. However, if you calculate your debt to income ratio and find out that it’s over 10%, you may want to stop using your credit cards all together until you’ve brought your ratio down.
Think Logically At The Checkout
As consumers, we are bread to spend with no regard for future consequences. Don’t become another slave to consumerism! Challenge yourself to think logically when it comes to the use of your credit card. Before you ever use your card, you should always ask yourself, “Can I afford to pay this purchase off along with the rest of my credit card debt within the next 6 months, should I have to?” and, “Is this purchase a need or a want?”. If you find that you don’t necessarily need what you are buying, you shouldn’t make the purchase. If you think that the purchase will make it impossible to pay off your debts within 6 months, you shouldn’t make the purchase.
If All Else Fails, Choose An Extreme Option
As consumers, many of us need credit cards as a financial pillow. However, the drive to use their credit cards outside of emergencies has caused many households to undergo financial hardship and in extreme cases, even bankruptcy. If you really want to stop using your credit card for non-emergency purchases but it burns a hole in your wallet, I’ve got a great option for you. Put your credit card in a freezer bag and fill the bag with water. Now, put the bag in the freezer and forget it was ever there. If you want to make a frivolous purchase, you probably won’t be willing to clean up the mess to get to your card. But, if you need something in an emergency situation, cleaning up a little water is a cost you will be willing to pay!
About The Author – Joshua Rodriguez