5 Ways to Escape the Credit Card Debt Trap

Credit card companies make profits on a simple fact of human nature: we buy today and worry about how to pay for it tomorrow.

5 Ways to Escape the Credit Card Debt Trap
photo: istock

Feeling the pinch towards the end of the year and want to start 2017 with a clean slate? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Start a piggy bank Go old-school! Save up for purchases instead of buying on impulse.  
  2. Only use one credit card The more cards you have, the more you’ll be tempted to carry a larger balance and take on unwanted debt.
  3. Pay the highest interest rate first If possible pay off your credit card bills and card balance in full each month. Or pay as much as you can afford above the mandatory payments on the highest interest rate card first. Set up a direct debit for minimum payments to avoid late fees or transfer your balance to a new 0% interest credit card for a limited time.
  4. Spend less than you earn Cut back on unnecessary expenses and use what you already have before buying new things. Create a self-imposed ‘spending freeze’ for a few months. Take your credit card out of your wallet and only use physical cash for a month.
  5. Don’t spend  ‘imaginary money’ Avoid spending any money you haven’t yet earned and lower your credit card limit to help avoid temptation. Financial experts suggest keeping records, making a budget and sticking to it. If you have more than one card then close off each credit card as you pay it off.

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