3 Reasons Why You Keep Landing in Credit Card Debt

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 29, 2021

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An older couple, out on a credit card spending spree, are shown walking down a street, holding shopping bags and smiling.

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Credit card debt can be dangerous. If you keep ending up with it, these reasons could be why.

Some types of debt are healthier than others. Mortgage debt, for example, is considered a good kind to have because it allows you to eventually own an asset that can increase in value over time. Credit card debt, by contrast, is among the least beneficial types to acquire. If you keep racking more of this debt, it could be due to these habits.

1. You don't follow a budget

People who don't establish a household budget risk spending more than they can afford without even realizing it. If you don't have a budget, you may not have a handle on your bills, which could lead to extra spending and a sky-high credit card balance.

A better bet? Spend a little time reviewing your bank and credit card statements to see what your expenses look like. Then, make sure you earn enough to cover them in full. If you don't, you may need to make some immediate changes, whether it's downsizing your living space (if that's feasible) or cutting back on leisure spending.

2. You don't check your balances until the end of the month

Many people don't log in to their credit card accounts to see what their spending totals look like until their bills come due. That's a mistake. If you wait until the end of the month, or the end of your billing cycle (which may not coincide with the end of the month), by the time you realize how much you've spent, you may already have to carry a balance forward.

It's a good idea to check your credit card spending each week. Pick a day every week to log on to your accounts and see what your total charges look like. If, by the mid-month point, you see that you've already spent more than what you're comfortable with, it'll serve as a warning to be frugal until your next billing cycle.

3. You make it too easy to give in to impulse buys

Many of us make unplanned purchases on a regular basis, whether it's at physical stores or online retailers. But there's an easy way to avoid the latter and keep your credit card charges to a minimum -- don't store your credit card information on any of your electronic devices.

If you have your credit card details stored on your phone or laptop, it's all too easy to complete a quick purchase and then move on with your day. But if you don't keep that information handy, that alone may deter you from making impulse buys -- and racking up more debt as a result.

Sometimes, credit card debt is tough to avoid. If your hours are cut at work or you're hit with a string of unplanned expenses, you may have no choice but to accrue a balance. But if you want to lower your chances of that happening, aim to follow a budget, check your spending weekly, and make it difficult to complete unplanned purchases on the fly. These simple moves could work wonders for your finances and help you avoid accumulating debt or adding to the pile you already have.

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