7 Reasons You Must Tackle Your Credit Card Debt

Posted on Posted in Maintenance, Mindset, Money, Movement

Using a credit card is extremely convenient, especially if you don’t have cash available. You’ve heard the famous motto, “Don’t have the money now? No problem!” During the weeks you do not get paid, credit cards come in handy. But the problem comes the day after your direct deposit hits, and you’ve paid every billexcept your credit card. And guess what, the effect of not having enough money to pay it off causes the cycle of debt to run all over again.

Bring that cycle to a halt, and you’ll be able to:

  1. Stop paying late fees: One of the ways credit card companies make money is if you, the borrower, cannot afford to pay the minimum payment after the due date. If you missed your payment for the first time, the highest amount you would pay is $27 and $38 for missed payments thereafter. This fee can be damaging to your cashflow especially if the charge you did not pay was less than the late fee. Say you’re late every month; you could lose $434-$444 in late fees alone. Do you know what you could use $400 for? An all inclusive vacation, a few shares of stocks, contribution towards an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), an emergency fund, or to start your side hustle. Remember: Freedom fighters never pay fees for anything.
  2. Stop paying interest: Also called Annual Percentage Rate in credit card language, interest is another way creditors make money if you do not pay the balance in full by the due date. The average interest rate for credit cards is 15%, and the maximum interest rate is 29.99% in 2016.
  3. Control your spending: Your swiping habits may suggest you love to spend money while your bank account suggests you need to stop.
  4. Understand needs vs. wants: This is one of the most basic principles of personal finance, but also the most difficult to grasp. Needs are things you cannot live without, such as food, clothing, transportation, and shelter. Wants are things you can live without, such as eating out every day, $300 pair of jeans, or a luxury car.
  5. Leave a legacy, not a tragedy: Your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family members do not want to inherit your debt or your habits that will reinforce the cycle.
  6. Start gaining interest: Did you know you don’t have to be solely a borrower, but you can be a lender as well? If you have a checking account with your local bank, you are already a lender. However, you can take advantage of earning long term interest by investing in low cost mutual funds (a collective of stocks and bonds) in your company sponsored 401k, individual stocks, as well as an Individual Retirement account.
  7. Start a freedom fund: Mostly referred to as your emergency fund, which is an account dedicated to your peace of mind if a loss should occur. With this fund, you’ll have the freedom to pay 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses without going in to debt. If you don’t have any current debt but don’t have anything saved, you’re still in debt. $0 saved is debt within itself. Three to six months may seem like more than you can save right now, and that’s okay. You can take a small step today by automating what you can afford to save in a online-only high yield savings account.

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