Addictions can run the gamut from watching too much television, eating an excessive amount of junk food or being attracted to dangerous activities. You may not have considered credit card addiction in that latter category, but it really is. Credit card addition can be dangerous to your finances, your lifestyle, your relationships and your mental and physical well-being.
If you’re use of plastic seems out of control, wise up, recognize it, and then tackle the problem whole-heartedly with a little resourcefulness or a bit of guidance. You can do it. Recognizing that you have a problem is your first step toward recovery.
Inform your family and friends, and look to them for support. Then, it’s time for an experiment: Start using cash and stop using credit cards to buy gifts, clothes, vacations and those silly action figures of the rock group Kiss. If you know that your overspending problem is really out of hand, it may be time to bring in the reinforcements: a credit counselor.
Signs of a credit card addict
A few signs of a credit card addict include that you:
- Hide spending habits from your partner and loved ones. By keeping this problem a secret, it grows and grows. You can’t be in denial.
- Always max out your cards. What would happen if an actual emergency arose and you needed to pay for major car repairs, a medical situation, or if you were stranded in some town? Well, you wouldn’t be able to use your credit cards if they’re maxed out.
- Insist on applying for new cards, even though you don’t need them and are in massive debt. This is compulsive behavior at its worst. You definitely have a problem.
- Turn to desperate measures to pay your debt. Some can be illegal and harmful personally and physically. More often than not, you may reach out to payday lenders, which charge exorbitant interest and now you’re even more in debt.
- Don’t worry about interest rates or fees.
If you think you have a credit card addiction, it’s time to come clean. Stop using them. Keep only two or three. Tighten that spending belt, and eventually you will be able to pay off those credit card debts and begin to create an emergency fund.