The lure of credit card offers for balance transfers with zero percent interest and rewards programs is often too good to pass up. However, the ease of getting and using credit cards has an obvious downside; the ease of getting into too much credit card debt. Breaking the credit card habit and getting out of credit card debt is possible if you understand your spending habits and implement some preplanning in regards to your spending.
Things You Will NeedSavings accounts
Glass of water
Review the last 6 to 12 months of credit card statements. If you do not have these on hand you can probably find them online at your bank's website or by calling and requesting copies.
Categorize where you spent your money over the last several months and create a list. For example your list may include dining out, electronics, pet care, Christmas, car maintenance and repair, home improvements and/or miscellaneous.
Add up how much you charged to the credit card for each of these categories. Now you know the areas of spending you need to work on.
Cut spending to any category that is not necessary and frivolous. Just say no to the new TV that you would like to have but just do not need to have. No more dining out if you do not have the cash.
Open a savings account for each of the remaining categories that are important to you. Many banks allow you to open multiple savings accounts attached to your checking account without fees. For example you may now have savings accounts for your pets, car care and Christmas.
Calculate the average amount you charged to your credit card month in each of the categories that now has a savings account. For example, if you spent $600 at Christmas, that comes to an average of $50 a month. If you spent $400 on pet care over 12 months, that comes to $33 a month.
Set up automatic withdrawals into each of your category savings accounts. The amount you calculated in step 6 is the goal amount that you should save each month for each category. Using the step 6 example you will be putting $33 a month in a pet savings account and $50 a month into a Christmas savings account. At first this may be an unrealistic monthly goal. However, try to put away a minimum of $25 into each savings account and work your way to the monthly goal.
Use the savings accounts. These are accounts that you can tap into so that you do not use your credit card and increase your credit card debt. If your car needs an oil change or new tires, you will have some money already saved just for that purpose.
Now put your credit cards in the freezer submerged a glass of water to freeze. Credit cards are essential for emergencies. This will help ensure that you only use the credit card when you need to and not when you want to. To use your credit card, you will now have to wait for it to thaw, giving you time to think about your purchase and if it's really necessary.
Getting out of credit card debt will take more than determination. You will have to create new savings and spending habits. Analyzing your spending and creating and using multiple savings accounts will help you create those improved debt management habits. When you stop using your credit cards, you will then be able to work on paying off your credit card debt.