It is now the "norm" to pay for everything we buy on a credit card. We tend to carry plastic rather than cash. This has contributed to us losing the importance of knowing the value of money. We are paid by our employers directly to our bank accounts; we pay bills on the Internet and when we go shopping, we pay using a plastic card. It is very easy to lose track of what we have spent and instead of paying the balance outstanding at the end of each month, we pay them minimum payment required. It is very easy for this to get out of hand and it has for many people.

It has become apparent that more and more people are unable to manage their finances and fall back on the convenience of using a credit card. Over the past few years credit card debt and bankruptcies have increased as well as banks raking in record profits. Do you see the connection? The more credit card debt we have, the more interest we pay including penalties if we don't make our payments on time. The banks love credit cards.

These statistics are frightening and are only going to get worse if we don't take responsibility for our actions and learn to spend within our means. If you have credit card debt, but feel it is getting out of control, it may be time to start looking at the options and strategies available to repay your credit card debt and start living within your means and debt free.

There are advantages and disadvantages to credit cards, unfortunately the disadvantages can lead to serious consequences if not kept under control. On the one hand credit cards are a great convenience by not having to carry large amounts of cash and can be used anywhere around the world. There are also many reward programs available, but be wary as these can also have disadvantages. On the other hand it is very easy to lose touch with your spending and if you are not proactively analyzing and paying your balance in full each month, you will be worse off as you will have to pay interest on the balance owing. This may begin a cycle of never paying the debt in full and you will see your balance gradually increase simply because of the interest charges and fees.

It is certainly not an easy road to begin paying off your credit card debt. It requires focus and discipline. This may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but if you do some research and find credit cards that offer a lower interest rate or a promotional offer of no interest for a period of time, you will begin to feel you are making headway. You will certainly learn a few lessons along the way, but the enormous pride you will feel in yourself for making the last payment will be well worth the effort. It is at this time when you are financially free of credit card debt that you can begin to design a new personal budget that will allow you your luxuries every so often and best of all, pay for them in cash.