Spotting Signs of Credit Card Addiction

by John Stevenson on January 13, 2011

Lacking in financial planning skills and constantly besieged by messages to buy, many Canadians become so used to making purchases with their credit cards that they soon reach a point where they can’t help it anymore. Unable to curb their spending, they end up incurring huge debts, ruining their marital life, wrecking their emotional health, and scrounging off their friends. These are the unfortunate consequences of card misuse; however, they can be avoided if a person realizes his or her addiction on time and takes the requisite measures to rein it in.

If you are not sure how prudent you are with your credit cards, below you will find some card addiction signs to check whether you are turning into a card addict. This way, you will know if it’s high time that you showed some self-restraint.

You Never Have Any Cash in Your Pockets

Do you set out for the grocer’s without any legal tender in your wallet? If you do, chances are you are overusing your cards and may soon get into trouble. It would be wise to cover your daily expenses with cash and use credit only for bigger purchases. 

You Buy Superfluous Goods

If you are in the habit of purchasing products that you don’t really need just because they are on sale and you feel like you’ve got yourself a bargain, you are not particularly provident with your money. The next time you go out shopping, try to show more willpower before you add a twelfth pair of shoes to your collection.

You Already Have a Dozen or so Credit Cards

The bigger the number of credit cards you own, the more credit you have available for purchases. And in fact, the more debt you accumulate without much thinking. This can become dangerous if you can’t keep your spending in check. A wallet stuffed with credit cards may be the detonator that sets the avalanche of debt running.

You Conceal Your Credit Card Statements

Even though credit card addicts cannot resist the rush of a good deal, many of them come to feel remorse over their purchases and resort to the dishonesty of hiding card statements from their spouse and family. This hardly ever works and usually ends up in a bitter argument. If you catch yourself deliberately ‘mislaying’ the letters you receive from the bank, maybe its time for you to sober up, have a frank conversation with your significant other and ask for their understanding and support. You can’t expect that your partner trusts you if you are hiding you financial dealings, can you? Even worse, what if your spouse has to pay these for you? A bit embarrassing, you’ll agree.

You Can’t Pay the Full Monthly Balance Due

If the expenses you charge on your cards each month are so big that you cannot repay them in full, you are obviously finding it hard to contain your spending urges. Brace yourself for applied (and increased) interest rates, late payment fees, and other default penalties further racking up your present debt.

You Transfer Current Debt to a New Card

Opening up a new credit card account so you can avoid the high interest rates on your current debt is another sign of card addiction. Other than allowing you to push the inevitable repayment a bit further in the future, this practice has little real benefit and will only increase – e.g. by way of transfer fees – the amount of your debt. If you recognize yourself in any of the above, you are a compulsive buyer with a credit card addiction. Admitting you have a problem is the first and hard step indeed. Join a support group or attend a one-to-one therapy before you rush to Debtors Anonymous!

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