So, you are out of debt? How do you avoid going into credit card debt again?
by Blair Warner
You have finally done it! Congratulations! Your hard work paid off! You pulled yourself out of credit card debt and restored your credit rating through credit repair, and now, no doubt, want to avoid making the same mistakes that drove you into debt in the first place. In one sense, it is easy, but, as we all know, it is just as easy to get back into credit card debt again unless some habits are changed, and systems in place to avoid it.
Consider the following simple strategies for credit and financial management.
Make a budget
The best way to avoid going back into credit card debt is by making yourself a budget. You will want to be realistic about your budget. Think about what your spending was before that got you into debt and figure out how you are going to avoid overspending on the same things. The secret to budgeting success is to keep on track with your budget. You may want to enter in your expenses every day, weekly or pre-determined, regular times so that you do not get behind without realizing it. If you spend too much in one area, try to make up for it from another one.
Think about whether you really need all of your credit cards, and possibly get rid of some.
Some people will just spend what they have available. If you do not need all of it, which most people don’t, then you might want to start cutting down on them. This is a tricky one, though. You don’t want to get rid of all of them, yet you have to be a bit strategic on which ones to close and which ones not to, so that the hard work of building a new credit score is not wasted. If done right, it might also help your credit rating. Here are some suggestions:
You might want to start with all of the miscellaneous store credit cards that you have. Not only might this make it less likely for you to go shopping when you really don’t need anything, but store cards often charge more interest, and don’t report to the Transunion, Experian and Equifax as often as credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, etc. — not adding as much benefit to your credit scores.
You do NOT need a gas card. It is better to use a general credit card and then pay it off each month. Things like gas and groceries really shouldn’t be bought on credit anyway, but if you want to use your credit card as a type of debit card (it is not, though. It is indeed credit), then paying it off each month is important.
During your previous credit repair journey you should have been advised which cards to close and which ones to leave open. If you have not done that yet, consider closing the younger ones first, and/or the ones with higher interest rates. Again, this must be done somewhat strategically. Ask your credit specialist for advice.
Pay with cash most of the time.
Some people who are survivors of credit card debt want to deal with credit cards as little as possible. They may just take out how much cash they want to spend at any given time and just bring that with them when they go to the store. They will not have the option of overspending.
Do not go shopping. (easier said than done, right?)
Some people just cannot help themselves when they are at the store. Do you get a “Must have it, gotta have it, can’t live without it” mentality when you go shopping? If this is you and caused you problems in the past, then you might want to just avoid the stores altogether. That also goes for the online shopping websites if that is your weakness.
When you get the urge to spend, think about how hard you worked to get out of debt and repair your credit. Be proud of yourself when you see your bank account growing and as you see yourself getting in charge of your finances. This simple tips above will help you stay out of credit card debt for good.