Just a swipe of the card and it can seem like your latest purchase is free. Climbing out credit card debt isn't that simple. "It's never been easier to get credit than it is right now in America," says Kevin McKinley, of the Wisconsin Public Radio show 'On Your Money'.
"It's also never been easier to screw up your credit situation so the responsibility is on the credit card user."
Even if a purchase will be paid back in a reasonable time frame, a great sale can turn into regular price or higher when you add in interest. Instead, start saving.
"Take a look at your budget," says Mark Willer of RCU. "Find out how much you can easily afford to set aside each pay period, or each month. Stick to a budget. By having those funds on hand, you can then pay for these items with cash or not accruing debt."
If impulse buying is digging you into a hole, take drastic measures. "Take those credit cards, put them in a jar of water and then put the water into the freezer," suggests McKinley. "It will take several hours for that jar to melt and you'll have a lot of time to think about whether this purchase is the best thing for your credit situation."
Having cards with zero balance isn't bad, but maxed out, they could hurt your credit rating or beyond. "Many of these companies are using a student's credit report and credit history as one of the criteria for screening applicants," says McKinley.
Setting a budget can be the beginning of a bail-out. "Sit down and analyze where you're spending your money," suggests Willer. "Find out what changes you can make to your spending habits and adhere to them."
If you feel the problem is beyond your reach, consider credit counseling.
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