Ask Away Blog: How To Stop Using Credit Cards

How To Stop Using Credit Cards

Monday, March 1, 2021



 
Not everyone can use a credit card responsibly and when I was struggling with plenty of debt, I was always using mine to get into even more debt.  Now that I'm debt free, I am able to use my credit card to get cash back rewards which is great,  but if you are still actively paying off debt and trying to build a savings fund, using a credit card can become a very bad and dangerous habit.  So today I'm sharing how you can stop and take a time out to rebuild your finances and in the future you may be able to use it responsibly again.



Put it away or cut it up. 
It's as simple as that.  If you simply can not stop frivolously using it and it's becoming a big problem, you need to put it somewhere you can't easily access it.  Freeze it in a block of ice if you have to.  I personally prefer to cut mine up or put them in a safe that is locked and not easy for me to grab when I'm contemplating an impulse purchase.  But seriously, if you always use it when you're out shopping, it becomes a habit to reach for it.  But if instead you have to reach for cash, it'll make you think twice. 
 
Make an emergency fund. 
Obviously, people don't like the idea of destroying a credit card because what if they need it for an emergency...well, that's what an emergency fund is for.  Do whatever it takes to come up with $500-$1,000 or more in a savings fund that you can ONLY use for emergencies.  That way if something does happen, you have the money to cover it and you don't need to use a credit card. 
 
Make mini savings funds in your budget for expenses you used to put on credit. 
I know what you're already thinking.... you can't afford the car emergencies that come up that are well over $1,000, right? But you can, if you set money aside every paycheck for them.  They act as other mini emergency savings funds.  These will be parts of your budget so each paycheck, you'll take money out and set it aside in an envelope or in a bank share that's designated for a category like car maintenance, vet bills, etc.  Look at what types of "emergencies" you used your credit card on before and make categories for those things.  Even if you don't use the money for an entire year, it's there when you do need it.  I always enjoy when it comes time to buy new tires because I've had money saved up for over a year that I pull out and use for that.
 
Pay off your debt. 
Of course, in order to stop using debt, you have to pay it off.  Balance your budget and use anything leftover each month to go towards your debt.  Track your progress with my free debt paydown tracker. When you pay down your debt you will eventually have more money each month to spend on things you need. 
 
Review your budget. 
Use my free budget spreadsheet and balance your budget.  Make sure you cut out whatever you can so that you have extra money to go towards your savings funds and other categories.  I mean literally, write down every single thing that you spend money on each month and see what you can do about it.  Buy less groceries by planning your meals and see if you can cancel some monthly subscriptions you don't use.
 
Disconnect it from shopping websites.
This is the real problem, our credit card info often gets saved to sites we frequently use it on. Get on all those sites and delete it. This is not only safe in case your account on that website gets hacked, but it means when you go to checkout, you'll have to really stop and think.... do you really need to get your credit card out...or should you just close out of this website and not buy this impulse item. 
 
It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to get yourself in a better financial situation but you can do it! Don't give up!



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