Are you an ostrich? Why ignoring your growing credit card debt is dangerous (and ten ways to avoid it).
Everyone has done it, but it doesn’t make it right. If your credit card debts are growing, pretending nothing is happening isn’t a strategy, unless you want to go bankrupt or enter formal insolvency agreements such as Part IX and Part X’s. The average person usually has more than one credit card, and many have a good, solid plan to pay them off.
However, many have maxed out their cards then move onto another one. This ‘ostrich effect’ continues until a person is in a desperate situation – a situation that could have been completely avoided. It can result in late payment fees and a lot of hassle that you could have easily avoided.
Here are ten top tips for keeping on top of your cards without adding stress.
- Know your limits. What’s your credit card limit? Make sure you know what it is and keep it in mind every time you pull it out.
- Open your mail immediately. Ignoring the bills won’t make them go away – by opening your bills (and reading them) you’re making a positive step.
- Pay more than the monthly minimum. An effective way to reduce those scary credit card balances faster.
- Set up monthly automatic payments. A no-brainer – once it’s in place, you won’t be paying excessive late payment fees every month.
- Don’t forget yearly fees. Some cards have low interest rates but yearly fees – these can easily put you over the limit without even knowing it.
- Create a secure spot to keep your bills and invoices. Buy a colourful folder or box and put it in a conspicuous place so you can’t miss it.
- Put aside an hour a month. Taking care of everything at once can be easier and more satisfying than tackling it bit by bit.
- Put it in your diary. Make a calendar event on the same day every month.
- Reward yourself. It’s not all pain, no gain. Treat yourself to a small gift every month as a reminder you are doing the right thing.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to a routine. Throwing in the towel is not an option – just pick up where you left off.
Stay in charge
It’s easy to put these 10 steps into action, but it takes more application to stay the course and make them part of your regular routine. Nevertheless, your reward will be greater peace of mind, less wakeless nights and perhaps open up some investment opportunities in the future, when you’re back on track.
The next step is to start paying cash whenever you can, rather than digging out your credit cards every time you want to make a purchase. You’ll discover paying cash is one of the best ways of keeping your credit card expenses under control.
Remember, you’re doing this for you. Don’t put it off – act now and give yourself big pat on the back.