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Getting Out of Credit Card Debt by Putting the Shovel Down

Updated on June 19, 2013

Avoiding the Credit Card Trap

The Problem

Credit card debt in America is out of control. It is estimated on various websites, that the average household in America has over $15,000 in credit card debt! No wonder more and more Americans need help sleeping through the night! With interest rates going up, and incomes going down, the time is now to get a handle on your debt and begin taking steps to free yourself from the credit card trap.

Understanding the Credit Card Trap.

I don't know very many people who get a credit card with the intention of getting mired in a hopeless cycle of minimum payments, late fees and revolving interest. Most people are simply looking for a way to get what they want today, without waiting till tomorrow. Credit card companies know this as well, and they take advantage of it.

Credit companies are not all evil. They perform a service that many people want or need. It is important to remember that these credit card companies are not charities. They are businesses with the goal of making money, not lending it. I will say that again. Credit card companies are in the business of making money, not lending it.

There are many people who make it their goal to pay off their credit cards at the end of every month. These type of people are known to the credit card companies as deadbeat customers. They don't like them. Do you know why? It is because credit card companies do not make any money off that person if they pay their balance off at the end of the month. They actually want people to carry a balance. In fact, the ideal situation for a credit card company is to get someone to the place where they are making minimum payments on a balance each month at 12% interest or higher. Consider thisas passive incomefor the credit card companies. They may have put out $6,000 dollars but a person making a minimum payment of $150 dollars a month will take 52 months to pay off that card at a total of $7,800. That is a profit of $1,800 dollars for the credit card company for very little labor on their part. This is of course assuming that the consumer does not charge any more on their card! When you consider that most households carry greater than $15,000 dollars in credit card debt, the numbers are astronomical!

Credit card companies want you in this trap. They are a business, and they are making money. Don't ever forget that!

Put Down the Shovel.

So you are in trouble with credit card debt. What now? How do you get out? The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to put the shovel down. Stop digging! This is harder than it sounds. Let me give you an illustration.

Recently I was speaking with one of my friends about their budget problems. They relayed to me that they were having to put living expenses on their credit card each and every month. When I recommended that they stop, they responded emphatically that it was impossible. They could not survive without those cards. That is the trap.

I asked them a simple question. "What if...?" What if you didn't have the option of using those cards, what would you do? I will tell you. You would do something...anything! Do you think the world will end if you don't use your credit cards? Absolutely not. You would have to do something. You might sell things, pick up more hours, work a second job, cut the cable, eat more rice, carpool. The list is endless. The point is, when you can fall back on your credit cards, you will. If you don't have credit cards to fall back on, you will have to do something else!

Personal Story

Lest you think I am crazy, let me give you my personal story. At 19 years of age, I got my first credit card. By 21 I had already been turned over to collections. It was a hard lesson. By 27 years of age my credit had been repaired, and I had another card. I started with the intention of paying it off every month, but the longer I did this the higher the bank kept raising my monthly limit. Finally the day came when I put something on the card I had no money to pay off. No problem, it wasn't much. Once the floodgates were opened it was almost impossible to stop the damage. Over the next few years I racked up over $6,000 dollars in credit card debt. I was making monthly payments but the balance was not coming down. It was depressing, and I was trapped. If you had suggested I stop using the cards I would have said you were crazy! I was using them every month for gas, and other necessities. How could I stop?

Finally I reached a breaking point. I was tired of the bondage. I wanted to be free. I took out both of my cards and cut them into little bitty pieces. I knew that I could not just "stop" using them. I needed to ensure that it was impossible!

The first month was murder! I don't remember how I made it, but I remember thinking it would kill me. However, over the next few months I found myself becoming more aware of my expenses. I was avoiding unnecessary trips to town. I stopped buying the candy and cokes from the convenience store. I stopped the morning coffee shop run and started making my own coffee at home. We opted to eat in rather than out more often. We cut our spending, sold things, and worked at increasing our income. Before I knew it, six months had passed without putting anything on the credit card and we had not imploded!!!

It has now been over a year, and within the next two months the remaining balance on my card will be paid off and I don't ever plan on going back. I have found out that freedom is too much fun. I have become a better saver. I have found new streams of income. I had to. I didn't have a credit card. And guess what? My new incomes did not come with a 12% interest rate! Awesome!!!

What About You?

Are you sick of the credit card trap? Does the thought of getting rid of your cards scare you? Good!!! When you are scared, it will force you to figure it out! I promise you will not die. I am not recommending you do what I did. I am asking you to consider what I have said, and make the best decision for you. The current state of credit card debt in America is unacceptable. I am tired of paying for the salaries and lifestyles of the credit card companies. I choose to be free. How about you? Are you ready to put down the shovel? I challenge you to go for one month without putting anything on a credit card. No matter what! Are you up for it? I would love to hear from you.


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