Perhaps you have had a credit card in your wallet since you were a senior in high school. Maybe you took one with you to college just for emergencies and were amazed at the ease with which you could make purchases — paying for pizza, treating friends to beer or getting new clothes for your first internship.
Now that you are responsible for larger expenses and perhaps a family, you understand how reckless you were to charge your whims without a thought about how to pay for them. Your credit cards have come in handy over the years for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or medical costs. They have also helped your family enjoy much-needed vacation time. However, you are seeing signs that your credit card debt is out of hand.
Have you reached your limits?
Applying for credit cards is easy, and you likely have several to prove it. In fact, you may have one or two cards that you obtained simply to help you pay down older, maxed out accounts. Despite the ease with which you used to obtain credit cards from banks, department stores, gas stations and other issuers, recently, these places have denied your applications. This is one sign that your debt may be out of control. Other warnings may include these:
- You are afraid to tell your spouse about the debt.
- You have stopped opening the bills from creditors.
- You are dipping into or have already used up your savings to pay credit card debt.
- You use your credit card to pay for groceries, gas, and other everyday necessities.
- You are not able to pay more than the minimum, and even then, you may miss payments or send them late.
- You have reached your spending limit on most of your cards.
Of course, the biggest sign may be that you are worried about your credit card debt. If you lie awake at night or find yourself dealing with financial stress, this may be the best indicator that it is time to take action to get yourself and your family out from under the burden.
Have you heard this advice before?
It's easy to give advice to stop spending, but if you have come to depend on your credit cards to keep up with your other debt, this may be an impossible task. You may also be unable to try the other tricks financial advisors suggest, such as adding a little extra money to one credit card payment until it is paid off, then applying that amount to the next one, and so on.
If you are in a situation where the advice to pay down your credit is not feasible because it is all-consuming, you may need to seek other options for debt relief. A compassionate California legal professional will be able to guide you in exploring the alternatives that offer the most positive results for your circumstances.