So how does one balance, "practical" with the want of pleasurable material things? Can a Taurus fight the urge for wanting soft comfortable things, perceived to make life more pleasurable with the practical "carry no balance" motto?
This Taurus can.
Credit cards…colorful, shiny, and easy - offering immediate gratification and all kinds of rewards. They put power, vacations, toys, dinners and YES – debt in your hands.! Swipe, sign and then…
One credit card gets used to pay off another; the card is used to pay for expenses of daily living; things you need; things you want; groceries, gas, , monthly bills, and soon there’s a multi-colored library of plastic in your wallet. For some this is not a problem, if each and every one of them was completely paid in full every month. But, in the more common scenario, they’re gathering interest-on-interest along with new principal - like a black hole swallows stars.
NerdWallet.com indicates that the average amount of debt for Americans with credit card debt was $15,422. Add average mortgage debt of $149,782, and average student loan debt was $34,703 and that's a whole lot of debt!
When you total everything up, the numbers quickly surpass the average human capacity for comprehension: the total American debt was $11.31 trillion, $858 billion of which was credit card debt (for those of you who like zero's, that is $858,000,000,000). With the numbers so high, it’s no surprise that late payments are on the rise.
So what can you do about it? There are five time-tested tricks to help with alleviate current credit card debt, while not accumulating more.
1) Create a budget - and yes, I realize I am asking you to use the "B-Word". Figure out what’s coming in, what’s going out, how, and where. If you want to be successful , you have to be honest with yourself. Determine where you are and where you want to be. This can be a daunting and emotional process, but the real truth is that, whether your budget looks balanced or unbalanced, tomorrow is a new day. You need to start somewhere, and the point is to get reach your goals.
2) Improve your rates. Make some calls to the credit card companies. Call the credit card companies and ask if they will reduce your rate, even if only for a period of time After all, it’s not like they’ll raise your rates for asking.
3) One at a time.If you pay additional amounts over the minimum amount due each month, the best thing to do in order to pay off the debt faster is to pay one card off at a time. Put all the "extra" towards one card while paying minimums on the others. Then, once the each card is cleared, take the amount you were paying on that card and add it all to the next card. Rinse, wash, repeat. Start this process by focusing all of your attention on the card with the highest interest rate, or the card with the biggest balance.
4) Pare it down. Now that your wallet is full of empty credit cards, figure out which ones you can do without. The ones retail stores give you in exchange for 20% off when you buy $200 worth of stuff are a good start. MIT did a study that showed people who pay with cards are more likely to spend more than people who pay with cash (think casino's and chips here).
5) Keep track of yourself. The last thing you want is to get yourself out of trouble only to climb right back into it. Updating that budget you’ve already made yourself can help make sure you know what money is going where, and you might even find that after a while you’ve earned yourself a little wiggle room.
Most importantly, have patience, with yourself and with the process. If you find yourself frustrated, remember that it is a process.Unless you used your credit card to buy a condo or a boat, accumulating the debt was a process too.