Addicted to credit cards? 5 questions to ask
Your credit cards can be handy little tools if you find yourself short of cash at the gas pump or in need of an unplanned new furnace.
But whipping out your plastic for everything from a sub sandwich or cup of coffee to groceries and new trinkets at the mall could be a sign you’re headed for a mountain of debt. And that you might be addicted to using credit cards.
To determine if you’re destined for credit addiction, or might even already be a credit addict, ask these questions:
- Do I routinely buy things only to return them?
- Do I take clothes, toys or household items to the resale shop or donation center that still have the price tags on them?
- Do I charge everything, even small items that I used to pay for with cash?
- Do I use credit cards more than I should simply to rake in the rewards (miles, points, and cash back)?
- Do I have a wallet full of credit cards so that I always have access to credit (if one card is at its credit limit, I pull out another)?
If you answered yes to two or three of these, you could be in trouble.
Talking to a credit counselor -- even if your cards aren’t maxed out -- can help you break the cycle of addiction and spare your credit score from suffering.
If you can raise your hand with a resounding yes to four or more of these questions, you could be addicted to credit cards.
In addition to credit counseling, you can break the addictive cycle if you:
Carry cash. Getting in the habit of paying with a few dead presidents instead of plastic will help ease you off of always swiping your credit card.
Use a debit card instead. Technically, it is still plastic, but debit cards don't accrue interest and over the limit fees. So in the end you get the same freedom associated with credit cards, without risking falling deep in debt.
Leave your cards at home. If they’re not in your wallet, you can’t swipe them at the store, pump or deli.
Our 7 smart moves to curb your spending is another good place to start.
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