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5 ways to escape the credit card debt trap

5 ways to escape the credit card debt trap

Feeling the pinch towards the end of the year and want to get ahead on your finances and debt? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Start a piggy bank Go old-school! Save up for purchases instead of buying on impulse.
  2. Only use one credit card. The more cards you have, the more you’ll be tempted to carry a larger balance and take on unwanted debt.
  3. Pay the highest interest rate first. If possible, pay off your credit card bills and card balance in full each month. Or pay as much as you can afford above the mandatory payments on the highest interest rate card first. Set up a direct debit for minimum payments to avoid late fees or transfer your balance to a new 0% interest credit card for a limited time.
  4. Spend less than you earn. Cut back on unnecessary expenses and use what you already have before buying new things. Create a self-imposed ‘spending freeze’ for a few months. Take your credit card out of your wallet and only use physical cash for a month.
  5. Don’t spend ‘imaginary money’. Avoid spending any money you haven’t yet earned and lower your credit card limit to help avoid temptation. Financial experts suggest keeping records, making a budget and sticking to it. If you have more than one card, close off each credit card as you pay it off.
Written by Readers Digest Editors. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.