You’ve probably heard of the folks who’ve decided to stop using credit cards by freezing them — literally. And while things like that are sure to bring a smile of amusement, they are also the things that can help you break out of that overspending cycle that racks up credit card debit and leaves you wondering if you will ever be on financial solid ground again.
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1. Go Cash Only
It sounds extreme, but when you have a finite amount of cash in your wallet, it’s a lot easier to stop the mindless spending. “Budget spending each month by using cash only — AKA the envelope system. Take out money (based on monthly spending) and put them into envelopes for specific categories, like dining out, entertainment, groceries, etc. If you’re used to spending $500 a month on eating at restaurants, the idea is to lessen it a little — say to $350 a month and use cash for it. When the money runs out, that’s it,” said Alex Matjanec, co-founder of MyBankTracker.com.
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2. Take Temptation Out of Your Wallet
As long as that card is sitting there, it’s in danger of being used. So remove your credit cards from your wallet. Freezing is optional. “Leave cards at home, and start using your debit card for purchases. While it’s great to reap the rewards credit cards have to offer, it doesn’t make sense to keep going into debt either. Leaving cards at home before going out can help reduce spending temptations,” Matjanec said.
3. Don’t Spend to Impress
Part of the spending problems people experience can sometimes be traced to a keeping up with the Joneses mentality. Don’t let your spending fall victim like that though! “As Will Rogers so eloquently put it, too many people “spend money they don’t have, on things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t care about.” Many times, credit card debt indicates nothing more than misaligned priorities,” said Tyler Gray, a fee-only financial adviser at SageOak Financial, LLC in Tulsa, Okla. Gray suggests taking a close look at your spending priorities.
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4. Commit to Yourself
The bottom line? The only way you can break your dependency is to take charge of your situation. “To break any habit, you must have the will to break it,” said Gregory B. Meyer, Community Relations Manager for Meriwest Credit Union. ”One must commit to stop using cards. Further use of cards only gets you in deeper, it does not help. Promise yourself to avoid your past improper usage of credit. You don’t have to swear off credit completely like an alcoholic. Credit can be used for good like buying a home or a car to get you to work. You have to teach yourself the correct times to use it and vice versa.”
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