Credit cards are a great resource for young adults and others trying to create a credit score for themselves, they allow you to make large purchases without having to have the cash with you and they go hand in hand with the convenience of shopping or paying bills online.
But what happens when a credit card becomes the only way you’re able to pay for your daily expenses?
How do you handle that burning need to spend even more money that you don’t have?
And once the credit card bills arrive how do you handle them?
Here are 10 signs that could mean you’re addicted to your credit cards:
1. Are you in denial?
If you never look at your credit card statements to double check the balances and make sure that there are no issues but simple pay the minimum amount due each month, you could possibly be in denial about how much you really owe.
Denial is probably one of the largest indicators that you’re addicted to your credit cards.
2. You have trouble living without your credit cards.
If you sometimes forget your credit card at home or in the event that it is lost you panic and are inconsolable. This is because the only available source of payment that you have is no longer available and now you must do without.
A compulsive need to always have and use your credit cards is an obvious sign that you are in fact addicted to them.
3. You already have several credit cards and continue to apply for more.
Are you constantly applying for a new credit card when your other ones are close to being maxed out?
It is easy to think that another credit card will help you with your financial issues but your credit cards will not magically save you and soon it will be obvious that you have an addiction to the feeling of having spendable money at your fingertips.
4. You keep your credit card problems a secret.
You never talk about your credit card balances with anyone, even your friends and family. When someone tries to discuss anything do to with credit cards or debt to try to leave the conversation or change the topic all together.
Your significant other probably doesn’t know anything about your debt or credit card problems because you try hard to keep them a secret and never leave your statements laying around to be seen.
5. Fees don’t concern you.
Paying extra because of fees doesn’t matter to you; you probably didn’t even know that there are fees. Special fees don’t concern you and they never have, as long as you have your credit card all is fine.
6. You never pass up a good deal
You love finding a good deal and taking advantage of it, sometimes you even buy more than one because you might “need it” later or because you could give it “as a gift”. Using your credit card is the only way you’re able to afford these items because even though they are a good deal they are still out of your realistic price range.
You have always loved a good deal and your home is evidence of this love. There are so many of these items laying around that you can’t even remember when or why you bought them in the first place.
7. You use creative ways to pay your bills
Do you borrow money from anyone willing to lend it? Are you constantly asking your friends for just a small loan because you had a few unexpected expenses this month?
Sometimes you even take cash advantages on your credit cards just to be able to pay your monthly bills and pay no attention to any fees that might occur.
If this is you and you have absolutely no way of paying any of these people back you might have an addiction to your credit cards.
8. You have next to no cash
You have no savings because you think that you don’t need it and that you’re “getting by” fine. Credit cards are the only form of money you need because they are so convenient for you to use.
9. Your credit card balances are constantly growing
You use your credit cards every single time you make a purchase and you don’t think twice about it, it has become a second nature to you.
10. You’re maxed out
You have several credit cards and every one of them is maxed out with purchases you can’t even remember.
Your daily spending has gotten out of hand and you are spending more money on than you are making.
It is now time to make some changes and get your finances back in order, below are a few tips to help you get back on track.
Evaluate your situation
You must first evaluate the situation that you are in and decide that the main issues are.
Make a list of all of your credit cards and the friends or family members you own money too, it’s better to have all your debts listed in one place so that you better understand the situation you are in.
Pay off the debts that have the highest interest rates first and make your way through the list that you have made.
Tell your friends and family that have lent you money that you have a plan and that they will be paid back eventually, they will respect your honestly and this will alleviate some of your stress.
Stop using your credit cards
This may be the hardest part, but you must stop using your credit cards right away, even if it’s just for a small necessary purchase. Leave your credit cards at home when you go out and only use the cash that you have.
You will never get out of debt if you continue to use your credit cards.
Now that you are no longer using your credit cards and are learning to live without them it’s time to revaluate your issues and your plan.
If the interest on your debt it starting to get out of hand and you are finding it hard to keep up with the payment plan that you created it might be a good idea to get a new loan from a lender that will help you pay off your credit card debt. Making one loan payment a month instead of several payments to several different credit cards is much easier to handle and can make paying your debts back less stressful.
Establish an emergency fund
Once you’ve started to get your credit card debt under control you should create an emergency fund so that if you were to find yourself with an unexpected financial emergency you can handle it without dropping back into your bad credit card habits.
Looking for more information? Check out our credit learning center.