Americans love to go shopping and spend money. Some love it much more than others. A recent study concluded that nearly 7% of all Americans have some type of shopping addiction. This problem is made worse with the use of credit cards. Credit cards can be great tools for responsible consumers, but they can also be a major problem if used the wrong way.
Below are four signs that your use of credit is starting to take you down a dangerous path.
You open new cards even when you’re in debt
If you find yourself in debt then a light bulb should be going off in your head that you need to cut back your spending. If instead you decide to apply for a new credit card so that you can spend even more, then you most likely have an addiction.
You buy things because they are on sale
Frequently you will hear people talk about how they purchased something because it was such a great deal. Just because something was marked way down doesn’t mean you really need to purchase it. Plus, if you are already struggling with debt then you really should only be buying the things you absolutely need.
You are not open about your spending with your significant other
One of the major building blocks for a relationship is trust. If you find yourself hiding your spending from your partner or if you are hiding the credit card statement from them that is a pretty good sign that there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Spending behaviors like this can put a tremendous about of stress on a relationship.
The thought of not having a credit card makes you uneasy
How would you feel if one day your credit cards were no longer in your wallet and you could use nothing but cash? If you find yourself being too reliant on having credit available to you then there might be a problem in your near future.
Getting back on track
Once you have finally admitted to yourself and others that you have a problem with your credit cards it’s time to get yourself back on track. A little hard work and you can once again live a financially prosperous life where you are not being held down by a piece of plastic.
The first thing you need to do is put all of your credit cards away. Some people will use a sock drawer and I have even head of people placing them in a plastic bag deep in the freezer. When your cards are not easily accessible there is more time for you to realize that you shouldn’t be purchasing something you don’t truly need.
The next step is to start using only cash for your everyday purchases like groceries or gas. When you use cash you won’t be tempted to place something in your shopping cart that you will regret later.
The last thing you need to do is set up a budget to help yourself pay down debt. If you have several high interest cards then it might be helpful to use a balance transfer credit card so that you can cut out the interest charges.