It’s very easy to get into debt — all it takes is a few swipes of a credit card. And once you get into the habit of buying what you want and worry about paying it off later, it can be hard to break it. But if you’ve gotten sucked into this debt spiral, there are ways to get out of it.
Always Pay With Cash or a Debit Card
One way to avoid the temptation of credit card debt is to simply stop using credit cards, and instead, rely on cash or debit to make purchases.
“You can’t overindulge if there is a set limit to how much you can spend,” said Tyler DeStefano, a financial representative with Guardian Life based in Middleton, Massachusetts. “For big-ticket items, create a budget and systematically put money aside to pay for it in full. This helps create good money habits and instills a long-term strategy.”
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Track Your Spending
It’s easy to rack up debt when you don’t even pay attention to how you’re spending your money.
“Being mindful of your spending is a powerful financial habit to build and can be essential in avoiding debt,” said Amber Cisneros, chief member experience officer at Orange County’s Credit Union. “Using a monthly budgeting plan can help you track how much money you have to work with, the amount that is going out each month for bills and expenses, what you need to set aside for other bills and living expenses, and how much you can devote to your financial goals from each paycheck. This habit will ensure that you are not overspending and will avoid the unnecessary spending that can eventually lead to debt.”
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Avoid Spending Triggers
“It is important to identify your spending triggers, and to avoid situations that will prompt you” to use your credit card, said Natasha Rachel Smith, former personal finance expert at TopCashback. “Common spending triggers include stress, having a bad day, social pressure, credit cards, boredom or social media pressure.”
The next time you find yourself tempted to spend, ask yourself if you really need to make this purchase, or if you just want to shop as a reaction to something else.
Read More: 30 Ways To Dig Yourself Out of Debt
Remove Saved Payment Information From Shopping Sites
It’s easy to mindlessly make online purchases when all your credit card info is already stored and saved to your account. Kenzi Wood, blogger at personal finance site Picky Pinchers, said that she racked up a $1,000 Amazon bill because it was so seamless to spend on the site.
“I was guilty of blowing money on useless trinkets on Amazon,” she said. “I adjusted my browser settings so I didn’t save my login or payment information. The extra inconvenience of logging in and finding my card was enough of a deterrent.”
Set Money Goals
You’ll be less tempted to spend on things you don’t need when you have set goals that you know you are better off putting that money towards.
“Setting goals will direct where your money will be spent,” said Ann C. House, accredited financial counselor and director of the Financial Wellness Center at The University of Utah. “For example, with your family decide on your next vacation. If the trip will cost $3,000 and you are going in a year, you will need to save $250 a month for 12 months. This way the trip will be paid for before you go.”
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