Everyday Cheapskate: 4 Good Reasons to Kick the Credit Card Habit
One study from the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that people with credit card debt and overdue bills are much more likely to experience symptoms of depression than those who don't have such debts, particularly if they are near retirement, unmarried or less educated. The more short-term debt a person had, the more frequently they reported feeling those symptoms.
No surprises there. The effects of credit card debt can be debilitating, if not devastating. But the good news is that kicking the habit allows you to retrace your steps and work your way out of debt. Each repaid debt returns your options. And once out of debt, your peace of mind will return as well. It's not impossible.
In fact, thousands reading this right now have done that using the system I created and you can use. Look for the "Rapid-Debt Repayment Plan" in chapter seven of my book "Debt-Proof Living."
A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called "Always Leave Home Without It: A Further Investigation of the Credit-Card Effect on Willingness to Pay" establishes the fact that people who pay with plastic just spend more -- whether it's a soda machine with a credit card slot or a great sale at Target.
If you're paying with plastic, you just feel freer at the moment to load up the tab. But kick the credit card habit, and leave the plastic at home; you will spend less. That means more cash in your pocket.
It's become the popular thing to tap into one's home equity by way of a home equity loan or refinance to pay off credit card debt. But that's just a way of moving that debt to one's home. The homeowner-borrower puts his or her home at risk should something happen that makes it impossible to keep up with those new, big monthly payments.
Even worse, perhaps, most people who pay off their credit cards turn around and run them back to the max within just two years, getting themselves into double trouble.
Kick the credit card habit and you won't be tempted to tap into this appreciating asset to pay for stuff you charged a long time ago and possibly don't even remember now.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.