Are you drowning in credit card debt? If so, you have plenty of company. Frugality guru and author Jeff Yeager notes that America has become a nation of spenders; this is a relatively recent trend that took hold in the early 1980’s.
In 1980, U.S. credit card debt totaled approximately $355 billion, but by 2008 it had reached about $2.6 trillion. Numbers this large are difficult to comprehend, but U.S. credit card debt increased almost 8 times between 1980 and 2008.
Yeager asserts that our motivation for spending switched from “need” to “want,” and illustrates this trend by citing data related to the sale of housewares. In 1981, between 66 and 75 percent of housewares sales were made to replace an old or broken item. Today, a large majority of housewares purchased are bought because customer’s want a new model, a different color, or style. In today’s “buy, buy” culture, we say “bye-bye” to our money by ignoring the difference between wanting something and actually needing it.
Debt Consolidation Help: Jumping off of the Plastic Fantastic Merry-go-Round
So you’re mired in credit card debt and have lots of company. How can you escape without filing bankruptcy or falling for costly credit card debt scams? Finding a certified credit counseling and debt consolidation service in your area is an important first step. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) notes that certified credit counselors can help you resolve current financial problems, establish a plan to avoid future problems, and find affordable ways of dealing with credit card debt. If you’re addicted to your credit cards, it can be uncomfortable giving them up. Most credit counseling and debt consolidation services require this as a condition of your debt consolidation and repayment agreement.
Cutting up Your Credit Cards: What Are You Really Giving Up?
Sure, using credit cards is convenient. Review your bills and realize that credit cards can be too convenient. You can be free of debt, financial stress, relationship problems, and work problems (why do creditors always call when you’re talking to your boss?). Getting help through debt consolidation and credit counseling can help stop your phone from ringing for all the wrong reasons while consolidating several bills into one monthly payment. Your credit counseling agency collects a specific amount from you, deducts its fee, and forwards the rest to your creditors per the terms of your repayment agreement.
Credit Card Debt: Digging Out and Digging Deeper
A primary benefit of credit counseling and debt consolidation services is the opportunity to review your spending habits and determining how and why you overspend. Identifying and understanding underlying causes for destructive spending habits is essential to gain freedom from credit card debt.