Open your wallet. How many credit cards do you have in there right now?
Think about the limits each of those cards have. Is it $500? $1,000? $5,000?
Now think about your bank account. Is the balance in your account anywhere near the limits on your credit cards? If you’re anything like me, my checking account has nowhere near the amount of all my credit card limits.
I’m sure you have the best of intentions with those cards. You signed up to get the bonus reward points, to have a back up in case of emergencies.
But how often do you really swipe that card? You know your weakness. Is it the shoe department? The newest makeup palette from your Instagram obsession?
The reality is, it’s so much easier to swipe (or type) a credit card than it is to use your hard-earned money from your bank account.
With a credit card, you can buy now and worry about it later. Even if you have the money sitting in your bank account, it’s still easier to use a credit card instead. With your debit card, the money is gone right then and there. With a credit card, it doesn’t really feel like you’ve spent any money.
Before you know it, your cards are maxed out and you’re swimming so deep in debt you don’t know how to climb out of the pool.
So how do you get out of this vicious cycle?
Step One: Cut Up Your Cards
First step, cut up ALL your credit cards!
If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried to do this before, or at least considered it. But there’s always that one card that doesn’t make the cut.
You know, the one you’re keeping just in case of emergencies?
Don’t listen to yourself! Grab that card and cut it up now! You will always, always find a reason to use that card instead of your own bank account.
Now that the hard part is done, we can move on to step two: brace for withdrawals.
Step Two: Prepare for Spending Withdrawals
That may sound a little dramatic, but you’ve got an addiction–spending money and charging purchases to your credit cards. Just because you’ve cut up your cards does not mean you will suddenly stop having the desire to go on shopping sprees.
Instead, you have to find better ways to occupy your time. When the itch to spend hits, satisfy it with something else that makes you happy.
Take a kickboxing class, read a book, start a new series on Netflix. Do whatever you have to do to get your mind off of blowing money.
Step Three: Remove Temptation
Another helpful step to quit credit cards is to opt-out of those offers you get in the mail. These have worked multiple times on me and I’m sure many other people, or credit card companies wouldn’t waste so much money mailing you junk.
Don’t assume you are immune to the credit card companies marketing efforts. Grab one of the offers lying around and look for the opt-out phone number and give it a call, right now. I promise you won’t miss dealing with all the junk mail!
Last Step: Get Used to Saying No
Finally, flex your willpower. The more you tell yourself no, the easier it gets. Just like those anti-drug classes they taught in elementary school: Just Say No!
At first you’ll be sad you don’t get to buy that new handbag that would be perfect for your outfit this weekend. But then you’ll dust off something from your closet that works just fine, and eventually you’ll forget about the tempting new purse.
You can do this! Being in debt flat-out sucks, and continuing to use credit cards will keep digging you further into the hole. Remember the next time you’re tempted to use or take out a new credit card the pain of digging your way out of debt. Don’t be afraid to just tell yourself ‘no.’
Quitting Credit Cards for Good is Possible
With a little (or a lot of) willpower, it’s possible to get out of the credit card debt cycle. Start by cutting up your cards and preparing yourself for when those shopping urges hit, and you’ll be well on your way to getting rid of credit card debt for good!