You might have gotten your first credit card offer when you were still in college. It was exciting—the idea that you could be entrusted with a credit card account. You could suddenly buy things you never dreamed possible. Your standard of living seemed to grow considerably. This was especially important during your college years, when money was so tight.
You may have run up your credit card balances when you had your first child. You had to buy so many things—a bassinet, crib, stroller—and a credit card seemed a good way to pay for it. You might have realized that it was wrong to overcharge, but you felt as if you had no other option. Suddenly, you found yourself facing a mountain of credit card debt.
Millions of us use credit cards each day to pay for both major ticket items and minor goods. Credit cards are a multi-billion dollar industry, and the industry seems to be growing all the time. Yet, there can be a tremendous amount of stress associated with paying with plastic. This stress can also be difficult to alleviate, since credit card use can be so addictive.
There can be the stress involved in paying off your monthly balances. The balances might grow so great, in fact, that you may have trouble paying them off entirely. There can be the stress involved in trying to manage multiple credit cards. Also, you might find yourself stressed out by even minimum monthly payments. If you have to balance other major bills, such as a mortgage and car payments, the financial stress can seem overwhelming.
How do you deal with such stress? There are a number of strategies you can use. To begin with, you can try cutting up your credit cards. This will eliminate the temptation to overspend altogether. When your balances are no longer rising, you might find it easier to deal with credit card debt.
However, you may view credit cards as a natural part of life. Therefore, you might not want to eliminate them from your wallet. In such a case, you must learn to somehow deal with credit card debt. There are a couple of different ways to do this. For instance, you might call the credit card company and try to re-negotiate your interest rate. This may require you to talk with a supervisor, but it can be well worth the effort. Cutting your interest rate can significantly lower your payments.
Another technique you can use is to put yourself on a credit card budget. Figure out, realistically, how much credit card debt you can handle each month. Once you figure out your limit, do not go over it under any circumstances. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying significant monthly payments.
Also, try, if at all possible, to pay your credit card bills on time. This means eliminating late fees, which can prove to be a significant expense. By paying your bills on time, you will improve your credit rating and you'll find yourself dealing with less stress.
In some cases, the best way to deal with credit card stress is to discuss your problems with a credit counselor. He or she may be able to work out a more manageable payment plan for you. With the counselor's help, you should also learn techniques for better managing your money. Best of all, such counseling is free, so it will not cause you additional financial stress. You may find yourself to be tremendously relieved after talking with a credit counselor about your problems.
You should not be embarrassed by the fact that you are undergoing major credit card stress. It can literally happen to anyone, particularly since credit cards are so widely available. The important thing to remember is that credit card stress, while difficult, is completely manageable. By invoking proven money management strategies, you can learn to deal effectively with your stress. You may even find that using credit cards becomes an enjoyable experience, since you are doing it so rarely. Also, be sure to talk with members of your family about the stress you are undergoing. They may be able to help ease your stress level—and they may curb their own spending habits as a result