Sometimes, the reasons for you spending more than you earn is understandable, and you not beat yourself down for this. What you should do is try to understand where the extra expense is coming from, and see how you can reduce it. Because after all is said and done an expense is expense, and you should do everything possible to reduce or eliminate it altogether. For example, Justin Narin gives four genuine reasons for incurring credit card debt.
Most people have credit card debt for one simple reason: they spend more than they earn. However, there are other reasons why you might have credit card debt, such as a medical emergency, a one-time emergency expense, rising costs, or impulse control. No matter how you got into debt, there’s a solution. Review the situations below to find the right credit card debt solutions for you.
If you spend more than you earn, the first step is discovering why. It could be because your mortgage has recently shot up, leaving you with little money for other expenses. It could also be because you make a lot of impulse purchases on your credit card. If you have high fixed costs, you should consider scaling back on luxuries like cable television, movie rentals, and eating out.
If you spend too much because you like to buy stuff, then you need to learn to ask yourself if it’s something you really need. Wait two weeks before making any purchase. Chances are you won’t really want it anymore. Once you control your spending, you’ll have an easier time paying off credit card debt.
Large One-Time Expenses
If you have credit card debt because of a large one-time emergency like car repairs, your first goal is to pay off that bill as quickly as you can by reducing spending in other areas. Once that’s done, use the extra money to build an emergency fund. Tap the fund for true emergencies, like car repairs or emergency room visits, so you don’t have to go into debt again.
Extended Medical Emergency or Illness
If your family is experiencing a major medical emergency or long-term illness, sometimes credit card debt is the only way to get by, especially if the primary earner is the one who is sick. In this case, your best bet is to negotiate with the doctor or hospital to reduce the medical bills. If the bills are more than you can ever reasonably pay, you may have to consider bankruptcy. Medical bills are the reason for 50% of all bankruptcy filings.
Extended Job Loss or Other Financial Hardship
Many people find themselves relying on credit cards to pay basic expenses after they lose their jobs. If you’re one of them, your first step should be to reduce every possible expense. Cancel cable, cut back on clothing and food purchases, don’t take vacations, do whatever it takes to cut your spending. If you have student loans, apply for forbearance. If you have a mortgage, find out if your lender can also extend a temporary forbearance. If you still can’t pay off your credit cards, consider contacting a credit counseling service for help. They’ll review your finances and may recommend a debt management plan, debt negotiation, or bankruptcy.
Once you get back on your feet, dedicate as much money as you can to debt repayment. You should also establish an emergency fund and continue to spend wisely so that you never find yourself deep in debt again.