One major challenge with credit card use is that they can be used privately. For the Christian who has decided to become free from debt, it is absolutely necessary to declare your commitment to someone that you unquestionably trust. Ask that person to be your accountability partner. It’s far too easy to slip back into your old ways of using those cards again if no one else knows your commitment.
Do not deceive yourself
Those who struggle with credit card use and debt accumulation often tell themselves necessary lies. Perhaps you’ve had these discussions/thoughts with/to yourself:
I’ll put it on my card today, but I’ll pay it off when I get the money
It was an emergency!
We needed it and there was no other way of getting it.
This’ll be the last time, and that’s it!
If you want to get and stay out of debt, you need to make a decision. No More Credit Cards!
Your first step is to call the number on the back of your credit cards and tell them to close your account! You will still have your balances and the interest will still be the same – you just cannot use the card anymore – and that is the point of doing it. Do not be afraid; make the calls. An alcoholic cannot keep a six pack in the fridge, “just in case”. Stop means stop.
Pay early, Pay more
Sometimes we can adopt a self-destructive attitude toward credit card companies: they’ll get their money when I’m good and ready to send it. I have had disdain for credit companies in the past, causing me to want to just pay the minimum whenever I wanted. That attitude only hurts us – not them. Determine to avoid late fees and interest rate increases by paying early. It is very important to check your account before the next bill is due to confirm the due date. Due dates can occasionally change and not realizing that could cost you.
The path to being debt-free requires paying more than the minimum payment. However, do not be haphazard in paying more than the minimum. Adding an extra ten bucks to this card or extra twenty bucks to that card is not only ineffective, but can be very frustrating due to not seeing your progress.
Continue with me as I share a very practical, step by step approach to paying off your credit card debt in Part 3.