It has been called a “magical” drug. Its chronic abuse has destroyed lives, families and loved ones. Its users claim that they cannot stop using. It has become their way of life. They can’t imagine what life would be without it.
What drug am I referring to?
The abuse of credit cards is quickly becoming the epidemic of the 21st century and it is claiming lives and making indentured servants of consumers worldwide. The credit card “pushers” fill consumers mail boxes with their “drug” and frequent college campuses to turn our children into junkies.
Like cocaine it drains your bank account. The addicts come from all walks of life. The addiction is not prejudice to race, color or religious background. It strikes at the heart of consumers and few seldom recover before damage is done.
There is even a 12 step group that’s sole purpose is to help the addict.
From the Debtors Anonymous preamble:
“Debtors Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from compulsive debting.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt. There are no dues or fees for D.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
D.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
Our primary purpose is to stop debting one day at a time and to help other compulsive debtors to stop incurring unsecured debt.”
Debtors Anonymous started in 1968 when a core group of recovering members from Alcoholics Anonymous held their first meeting to discuss the problems they were experiencing with money.
By 1971, the essence of the D.A. Program unfolded in the discovery and understanding that the act of debting itself was the threshold of this disease, and the only solution was to use a Twelve Step program.
Credit cards most definitely are part of our society, no matter if you make purchases online, offline, in person or wherever you are. It is difficult, if not impossible, to rent a car or make a reservation without one.
Credit cards are available with every turn of your head and misusing you credit lines can mean trouble for your financial future. The sad fact is that people use credit cards to pay for things they cannot afford. A credit card gives us the opportunity to pay more for an item purchased.
Why do seemingly intelligent people do such things?
There are probably more answers (or excuses) to that question than I can count, but it can be safe to assume that “convenience” would grace the list somewhere. Using the thinking above though, does it really make sense to “conveniently” pay more for a product or services price? This is addictive thinking. The main feature of addictive thinking is denial. Denial is the trick the addicts mind plays on them to excuse the use of their “drug” no matter what harm it causes.
You keep using because you’re obsessed with the desire to feel good.
Although there is no such thing as debtors prisons, being a slave to your debt can feel quite constricting. When you are no longer working for your family, but you creditors, there needs to be an intervention. You need to stop the addictive acting and thinking. You need recovery.
Once you are out of debt, say with the help of debt settlement, there are several ways to prevent yourself from ever having to suffer from this horrible addiction again.
Easier said than done, right?
With a little discipline and a lot of persistence, you can happily maintain a lifestyle that will never be in need of debt again.
It’s all about a budget. Sit down and determine the total amount of take-home pay that comes into your household every month. Next, determine the nature and amount of all necessary expenses, including mortgage, auto, food and utilities. The amount that you have left after all necessary expenses have been paid will represent your extra spending money for the month. By spending no more than what you make, you will never again have to worry about needing being in debt.
Shop with a store list, it’s so easy to wander into the jewelry or sporting goods section, but there are often greater rewards with discipline. If you shop with a list and stay within the areas that sell only what you need to buy, you won’t be tempted by impulse purchases. Although excessive spending is not the only reason why many are in need of debt settlement services, it is one of the leading causes of debt.
Keep a journal, or track your spending with a personal finance program on the computer, at least for 30 days. A financial journal is a very responsible step toward managing your money and avoiding debt problems in the future. I call this my 30 day challenge.
How many times have you wondered where your money went? If you are like most, the answer to that question is all too often. Rather than wondering what happens to your hard-earned dollar, write down every single purchase in a daily journal. This will help you to see exactly what you are paying and where you your money is going.
Clip Coupons. You can save a lot of money every week simply by clipping a few coupons. Whether you find them online or in the Sunday newspaper, coupons are a terrific way to save money. Even if you only save $10.00 per week in coupons, that’s $40.00 per month. For most households, that money could be put toward a necessary expense.
Save. Every month, put some amount of money into a savings account. Many banks will allow you to open a savings account with no minimum deposit. Whatever you can afford, even if it’s just $20.00, putting money into some type of savings will provide you with a cushion for later use. Being able to access savings will be a great help if you should ever get that impulse to charge again. Remember, YOU ARE AN ADDICT! With addictive thoughts and actions. Your efforts to break the pattern are fine, but NEVER forget the problems caused by the old, charge it mentality.