If you’re struggling with credit card debt, you’re not alone. According to NerdWallet’s American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics: 2016, the average American household carries $16,883 of credit card debt. Everyone gets in financial trouble every now and then, but some people are making mistakes that sink them further into debt. Here’s why you may not be getting over the financial hump.
Some people think
if they ignore bills long enough, they will disappear. Wrong! You’re only making the situation worse. Eventually unpaid bills will go to collections and damage your credit. Even if you can’t afford to pay your bills in full, at least look at the invoice and try to pay something towards them.
Playing the victim
You can’t get out of debt if you’re always looking at yourself as a victim. Even if you lose your job or experience a crisis, you’re still responsible for paying your bills on time. Rather than throw yourself a pity party, pick up the pieces and work towards paying off your debt.
Ignoring the real issues
Some people shop a lot as adults because they grew up poor. Others shop to fill a void or make themselves feel better. By uncovering the real reason behind your spending habits, you can come up with alternative ways to cope.
Only paying the minimum balance
When you only pay the minimum balance
shown on your credit card statement, it will take you longer and cost you more than necessary to pay off the bill. Since most credit card companies charge a penalty interest rate of up to 29%, you’ll spend a ton of money on interest. If you can afford to put more towards your debt, do it. The more aggressive you are with your payments, the more money you’ll save on interest and penalties.
The Jones and social media
Social media makes it easy to see people shopping big and taking expensive trips. But you don’t know their financial situation, or if they’re living paycheck to paycheck. Spend smart, pay your bills and stay out of credit card debt. Good friends with good values will respect you, and stay friends.
Get help if you need it
If you’re drowning in debt and see no end in sight, consider getting help from a credit counselor or from your credit card’s hardships department. Credit counselors look at your total financial situation and help you create a plan to manage your money while paying off your debt. Alternatively, credit card hardship programs are for people whose debt is due to unemployment, divorce, long-term illness and things of that nature. Depending on your situation, they may lower your interest rate or your monthly payments.