Run Away Credit Card Debt

Hmmmmm – Interesting post title for a prepping site. I agree. However, I will share a story that links this post to prepping. My wife shattered her wrist this last weekend snowboarding. That means an ambulance ride from the slopes, an ER visit immediately after, surgery a couple days later, follow up visits and then 2 – 3 months of rehab. Besides wanting you to feel sorry for me, there is a point to this post – being prepared is not just about guns, food and ammo – it is about being ready for the unexpected no matter where it comes from.

My wife and I live within our means. We have old cars and a smaller home than most and NO CREDIT CARD DEBT! With no credit card debt I am relatively prepared (yes, there it is) for these unexpected bills. If necessary, I can live off them (credit cards) while I pay for this medical disaster. If I was carrying a balance, I may not have them as a back up.  So, just like getting your other ducks in a row (firearm training, medical response training) you need to get your finances in order too. Sub Prep – where is this going? GUEST POST TIME!!!!!

Catching Runaway Credit Card Debt

If you’ve accumulated several thousand dollars in credit card debt, it may be good to know that you’re not alone. Across the US, millions of people have managed to do the same, and are now facing years of hard work to get back on track. So, put on your running shoes, grab your budget, and let’s start the race toward eliminating this burden.

First of all, you need to realize that you’re running a marathon, not a sprint. Chances are, it took years to get to this point; don’t expect to be debt-free in a matter of weeks (or even months). Like any long race, you need training and a race plan, or you could easily end up on the side of the road – frustrated, out of breath, and unable to finish.

The first step is to put the credit cards away – in a safe, sock drawer, file cabinet, or any other place where you aren’t inclined to use them for impulsive purchases. Chances are that you’ve tried several times to beat your debt down, only to find it inching higher. The basic fact is that it won’t go away on its own; you have to stop spending and adding to the debt, in order to move closer to the ultimate finish line of no more credit card debt.

Secondly, you need to look at your budget, and make necessary lifestyle changes. This task is going to require endurance, so you need to ensure you are making healthy financial choices and avoiding “fatty,” meaningless expenses. Remember, the hardest part of training for anything is acknowledging and adhering to the sacrifices required; giving up the comfort of old spending habits will be hard, but this change will get easier as time goes on. You are developing a regimen of healthy habits that will ultimately give you the skills and endurance required to win this race. It will take time for this new regimen to feel natural, so remember the end goal and keep focused on it.

Finally, make a race plan. With your newly acquired financial skills and habits, you are ready to tackle this challenge. While there are several ways to eliminate credit card debt, you need to pick a plan that works for you. The two most common plans are:

1. Pay off the card with the highest APR first. This will ensure that you pay the minimum in interest and charges while you catch up. In the long run, this allows more money to go toward your balance, and less toward interest.

2. Pay off the card with the smallest balance first. There is an inherently good feeling when you reach a goal, such as paying off a credit card. By paying the smallest balance off first, you build momentum and see results more quickly.

Whichever plan you use, don’t forget that you need to pay the minimum balance on the other cards to avoid late fees, increased interest rates, and lower credit scores.

In short, credit card debt can be beaten. It will take planning, endurance, and persistence, but the reward in the end is well worth the effort. So, are you ready to pick up your race number and take your first step toward financial freedom? READY, SET, START!

For advice about debt consolidation, check out CareOne.  As with any vendor referred to on this site, please check them out on your own first to be sure they are right for you and your situation. 


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