Surveys found that half of American households report having trouble making even the minimum payments on their credit cards. What’s going on?
A lot of people are using credit cards for credit and not just for convenience, and they find themselves living beyond their means. So, here are four simple rules for credit cards; and if you can’t follow all of them, you need to perform some plastic surgery as soon as possible and stop using them.
- Use a credit card only for budgeted purchases.
Oh yeah… that means you have to be living on a budget (spending plan). If you’re not, it’s going to be tough to stay out of credit debt. If you need help with starting a budget, visit our friends at FaithFi (formerly known as MoneyWise). One of their volunteer coaches will contact you online to assist you.
- Pay credit cards off on time and in full every month. This way, there’s no interest charges, no late payment fees and no debt.
- The very first month you can’t pay a credit card bill in full, take out the scissors, and destroy the card.
- Just because you can afford to buy something doesn’t mean you should.
Force yourself to wait a couple of days and pray about the decision. More often than not, if it’s an impulsive decision, the impulse will go away, and you will save money.
If you are in serious credit card debt, remember what Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.” The Lord wants us free to serve Him and not our creditors.
So, begin to “snowball” your plastic by making the minimum payments on all the cards, and focus on paying off the one with the smallest balance. If you need help from a debt repayment company, we recommend checking out our friends at ClearPoint. They have worked for decades with consumers helping them pay off their cards.
Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.