In the never-ending episode of shared information in this modern world, I came across a friend of mine the other day on Facebook who made the announcement; “I’m giving up credit cards!” This seemed a jubilant and exciting affair; getting off the credit card wagon is a huge step in this modern world. Still, I wondered, how much that really meant. How long would this jubilant friend of mine be able to stay off the credit trap? What does a declaration like “I’m off credit cards” really mean if you still have available credit in your wallet? How long until living without combined with those tempting, no interest rate, no initial upfront payment credit offers we get in the snail mail and email almost daily takes their toll and this friend of mine is indeed back on credit cards? Here are a few tips for getting off and staying off the credit card merry-go-round and getting your life back.
Destroy Your Credit Cards; Get Your Life Back: Search & Destroy: As the title of this piece suggests one of the first things the erstwhile credit customer must do in order to really get their lives back is to destroy their credit cards. That means more than just cutting up those credit cards with exorbitant balances and pretending the past never happened. The first thing you should do is pull down credit reports from all three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax) and compare and dispute. If there are matters from your past which are closed, you need to get the proof of that and dispute their presence on your credit reports. If all the information found on your credit reports is accurate and identical, then you need to tackle these bears until they are done.
Destroy Your Credit Cards; Get Your Life Back: Divide & Conquer: As much as you may think “I should pay the highest balance credit card first,” that may not always be such a hot idea. Find out your individual credit cards interest rates, call the credit issuers directly, tell them you’re paying off your credit cards, and see if you can’t negotiate some type of deal with them to lower interest rates, consolidate payments, and eliminate fees and maybe even whole portions of your balance. If you’ve had trouble paying your bills in the past the credit issuer may be more sympathetic to a plan to pay off credit cards and they may be willing to help you out. Credit issuers don’t want a liability on their balance sheet any more than you want to pay out the nose for some party dress you bought in 1997.
Destroy Your Credit Cards; Get Your Life Back: Get Your Life Back: Make a plan to pay off your credit cards with money you’ve already got or money you’re sure you will be making. Quicken or some other financial software is great for that. You have to be reasonable too; you can’t dedicate all your monies towards your credit; you still need to eat, pay your other bills, drive your car, and otherwise live your life. Even if you’re on lockdown for a period of credit penance you can’t totally sit out on the rest of life.
Destroy Your Credit Cards; Get Your Life Back: Destroy the Cards: Once you’ve done all the things ascribed and you’re making progress on the credit issue, make a spectacle of these things. Post your credit card bills in your bathroom, on your refrigerator, in your purse or elsewhere so they’re always on your mind. Once the credit balance has been whittled down to zero on individual cards, call up and cancel those guys. Destroying the cards and closing these accounts is a good idea but don’t remove the evidence. With online bill payment you can often get statements direct to your bank accounts. Just make sure that the statements show a “$0.00” balance and a “Closed” status.
Destroy Your Credit Cards; Get Your Life Back: Get Your Life Back: Once you are credit’ less you may feel a longing or some other thing. It’s a good idea to resist this urge until you’ve gotten a substantial amount of money saved in the bank that you can pay for things rather than take out credit. You’ll have your life back, you’ll be happier, and all will be right with the world. …Of course, once you pay off that car loan, student loans, and mortgage.