Credit cards are, now more than ever, a very integral part of our lives. They’re definitely very convenient and in some situations, they can be life-saving. They can easily get you out of an awkward situation and they can also allow you to treat yourself even if you don’t have the money to do so at the time.
However, if you don’t manage your credit card wisely and your debt gets out of control, it can cause a lot of stress and sleepless nights. And such high levels of stress can lead to all sorts of health issues, including chronic headaches, back pain, ulcers, muscle tension, high blood pressure, skin conditions, asthma, depression, anxiety and it can even lead to diabetes and heart disease.
In the United States, a survey by NerdWallet revealed that one in every five people suffering from debt-related stress develops some kind of mental or physical health problem. It also showed that people who are under this kind of stress are 13 times more likely to suffer from insomnia and to lose sleep. It is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to the doctor’s office is stress-related!
Similarly, another survey of credit card users by Credit Cards NZ shows that over a third of credit card users reported that worrying about their credit card debt was affecting their health.
If getting out of debt seems impossible you. The sad truth is, it’s not going to get any easier, but there are things you can do to help you get out of debt. We have put together some useful tips for you to follow below.
Create a budget
In order to create your budget, you’ll have to take a look at your finances and make a realistic assessment. You must calculate your income and the amount of money you spend.
This can be a lot, so the best method is to make lists. List all of your regular expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, service payments, etc. You’ll also need to calculate how much you spend on groceries, transport, and entertainment.
Tracking your expenses helps you identify your trouble areas and it will show you the things that you’ll need to cut back on.
Don’t keep piling on debt
If you’re drowning in debt, why would you keep using your credit card? Even if you still have some available credit, just leave it alone!
Your focus should be on getting rid of the debt that’s already weighing you down, so keep your credit card out of sight.
Maybe you can even try the old trick of putting your card in a bowl of water and let it freeze. Anything to keep you from using it!
Pay more than the minimum
This can be difficult depending on your situation, but try to pay a little bit more than the monthly required minimum each month. A small increase of $50 or $100 more can make a huge difference.
Most importantly, make sure that you set an amount that you can maintain every month, so consult your budget!
Set up a direct debit payment
Another simple little thing you can do to help you with your credit card debt is having a set amount of money automatically taken out of your paycheck so it can be put directly toward paying off your debt.
Do whatever you can to make this happen the same day that you get paid so you won’t be tempted to spend that money. If you don’t know it was there in the first place, you won’t miss it!
Identify unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms
When we find ourselves having a rough, stressful time it’s not unusual to turn to bad habits or coping mechanisms to help us deal with all the negative feelings flying around.
But even if these things give you temporary happiness, they can have long-term negative effects on your health and your finances, so the best thing you can do is identify this problem as soon as possible.
Some of the most common negative coping mechanisms are shopping, gambling, binge drinking or eating, and even drug use. Be mindful of yourself and identify your unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms before they become a bigger problem.
Look for emotional and mental support, and if you can’t handle this on your own, find professional counsel to figure out what to do about your debt.
Don’t neglect yourself
Even if you’re going through a rough time, you still have to make time for yourself. Wallowing in your problems won’t make anything better, so make sure that you still find time to have fun and relax.
Turn to exercising and other activities that will help you release and relieve some of that stress, such as yoga, meditation, crafts, painting, reading, gardening or any other activity that you truly enjoy.
Having some time to wind down puts things into perspective and it will help you keep your stress levels at bay.
Turn to friends and family
True friends and family are always there to help you handle the difficult things in life, so don’t keep your troubles to yourself!
Share your burden and reach out! Allow the people who love you to help you out even if it’s just by being there for you.
Communicating and discussing things with others will help you clear your mind and figure everything out a lot faster, so don’t be embarrassed to do it.
About The Author:
Mishelle Simanes is the Content manager for Credit Cards Compare NZ, a leading New Zealand credit cards comparison website where users can compare and find the best credit card to suit their needs.