Getting yourself into credit card debt isn’t hard. Getting out of credit card, on the other hand, is usually much harder. Paying down credit card debt can also sometimes feel like shoveling your driveway in a blizzard, especially if you keep using credit cards. You just keep working at it and working at it, and just when you think you’re done, it’s time to start all over again.
When trying to pay down or pay off credit card debt, it’s usually a good idea to stop using credit cards altogether. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done most of the time.
Canceling a credit card and closing the account is one way to stop using credit cards, but it’s not usually the best way. First of all, canceling a credit card can actually hurt your credit score slightly. You might also want to avoid canceling a credit card when you plan to use it again after you’ve paid down your debt.
You can stop using your credit cards, though, without canceling your account. In most cases, it’s more of a mind over matter situation. Try these psychological tips and tricks to stop using credit cards while you pay down debt.
Establish a Goal
Figure out why you want to stop using credit cards. Obviously, you want to stop using them to stop amassing debt, but why exactly? Are you working toward purchasing a home? Trying to repair your credit? Whatever your reason, establish a goal. Having something to work toward can make it easier to stop using credit cards and pay down your debt.
Rework Your Budget
If you haven’t already, create a budget of monthly expenses. When you’re creating your budget, though, consider only the actual cash you have on hand, such as weekly wages or monthly benefit payments. Try to avoid considering available credit on your credit cards. To make and stick with a cash budget, you might have to cut expenses and sacrifice some luxuries. Just make sure you aren’t relying on those credit cards!
Write Yourself a Note
And put it right where you can see it – on your credit card! A simple note not to use your card taped right on the front of the card should be enough.
Send Yourself a Reminder
Daily reminders are also a great way to help you stop using credit cards you’re trying to pay off. You can set an alarm on your phone or use a text message scheduler, like Text Later, to text yourself reminders. If you tend to reach for your card during certain times of the day, like to pay for lunch or happy hour, it might help to schedule reminders for those times.
Put Credit Cards Away
One of the easiest ways to stop using credit cards is to stop carrying them. However, with the rise of online shopping, it’s no longer enough to simple pull them from your wallet. You may want to put them away completely, such as in a high cupboard or locked drawer. Make them hard to get to, and you’ll find it easier to stop using credit cards.
Freeze Your Assets
This is one of the oldest and most creative tips to stop using credit cards you’re trying to pay off. Fill a plastic cup with water, plop your credit card in, and put it in the freezer. Having your credit cards frozen in a chunk of ice makes them a bit difficult to use and abuse.
Destroy Your Physical Cards
This should be a last ditch effort to stop using credit cards, but it is an option. Pull out your handy dandy shears and start cutting! Once you pay down your credit card balance, you can always order a replacement card, if you want to keep an account open.
Do you have any additional tips to stop using credit cards?