It’s the New Year and that means the holiday season is over and now it’s likely that millions are stuck with a tremendous amount of debt on their credit cards. After splurging on gifts, going out for dinner and trying to enjoy Christmas as best as possible, the creature known as the credit card bill has made its way to the mailbox (or email inbox).
According to the latest Federal Reserve figures, total credit card debt in the United States is less than $900 billion (Canada’s household debt is $1.3 trillion), which is surprisingly down from more than $1 trillion. Although the amount is on the decline, the credit card industry is still raking in astronomical sums of money through fees, finance charges and interest.
With 2013 making its arrival, a key new year’s resolution would be to pay down the credit card, balance the budget and find ways not to use credit cards. Here are some reasons why every person should ditch the credit card and start using debit cards or cash.
Even though consumers are enjoying record-low interest rates, it will not occur in perpetuity. Sooner or later, the central banks will increase the rates and that means the burden of credit card debt will be even greater. In a household consumed by credit card debt, there may be deep regret for buying that $25 item using credit.
As previously noted, Visa, Mastercard and other companies make an exorbitant amount of money through fees and finance charges. This adds to the monthly credit card bill and can cause severe financial strain. Credit card companies may list the fees (albeit, in small fine print), but it’s the consumer’s job to spend within his or her means and keep track of all of the changes to fees.
Taking a credit card to a shopping mall is one of the worst things a person could do. Perhaps the consumer is low on funds and doesn’t have enough money to acquire a dress, a video game console or candy bars, but with a credit card, all of his or her desires can come to fruition with a simple swipe (or tap).
Without a credit card, budgeting is simpler and easier. With a credit card, planning and following a budget can be rather difficult due to the various temptations out there. Successfully establishing a budget means spending within one’s means and leaving the credit card in a safe.
Some consumers may use the excuse that a credit card is needed to shop online. Shopping online could be hazardous to personal finances, but even shopping can be performed online using PayPal, a debit card, Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
A large percentage of cyber attacks occur on credit cards. By ditching a credit card and using cash, personal security is heightened and chances of attacks are less likely to happen.
Individuals, families and general households can stress out with too much debt. As maintaining credit card debt can consume much of a person’s worries, having zero debt and not owing anyone can bring peace of mind. Being debt-free is now one of the goals of millions of indebted people across the globe.