Thursday, January 18, 2007

Being Mature About Debt

I found this article interesting on Yahoo finance called "6 ways to be a grown-up about debt" by George Mannes from Money Magazine. Since I've been down on our credit card debt I was happy to see that I was not the only one in this sinking ship. It seems that since 1990 credit card debt has more than doubled according to CardTrak.com. The reason why? Because it's so easy to charge things and have that "I want it now mentality". So what can you do to save your financial prosperity?

Money Magazine suggests this:

1) Admit that you're the problem. Almost sounds like AA, Hi my name is Mike and I have a credit card addiction. Actually this means taking responsibility for your credit dilemmas. Understand that eating out and using your credit card to pay for it makes for a very expensive meal.
2) Play Tricks on Yourself. Lock up the credit cards, shred them, burn them. Do anything to keep them out of reach and don't use them anymore. Start putting money aside for an emergency fund, so that if something comes up you aren't tempted to bust out a credit card.
Another good idea that they have is that if you need to get something big, pull the money out and put it in envelopes until you have enough for that large purchase.
3) Make success simple. Now that you've put a brake on your credit card debt, come up with a plan to start paying off your cards. Start by paying of the highest interest card and work your way down.
4) Beware of the easy out. Debt consolidation and Home equity loans can keep you in the same trouble if you don't change your spending habits and your mentality on credit card debt. Also with a home equity loan you are risking your home to get out of debt.
5) Get help if needed. Get help from a reputable credit counselor, who may be able to get you some better rates on your credit cards, just don't pay more than $75 and do your research.
6) Think outside the debt. Even though you are in debt don't forget to save some for an emergency and for retirement. Talk your expenses over with your significant other so that the future will look much brighter.

This article made me feel a little better, especially since I just figured out that we owe a ton of money on our credit cards. We didn't get in debt overnight, so I guess we aren't going to get out of debt overnight either.

2 comments:

Clever Dude said...

I agree with each statement, especially #1. I just recently posted how denial and pride are what causes a majority of our stupid financial mistakes.

Amateur Investor said...

I totally agree with you, I went through denial, depression, and then disbelief. I've finally decided to take control and get out of this debt with whatever it takes.

Thanks for the comment.

A.I.