Times are tough right now. There are many families out there who are barely making ends meet. And one of the biggest reasons why people are struggling so badly is because they have so much debt.
America is a nation of debt. With credit cards offering to give us “free” money we are all conditioned to buy now and worry later.
Of course there is no such thing as “free” money. We all pay – and pay dearly – for swiping that plastic credit card.
So why do we bury ourselves in debt?
Well, there are hundreds of answers to that question, and the answers change from person to person. But one answer that applies to everyone is that it’s so easy to swipe a card and it doesn’t even feel like you’re spending any money.
Credit cards are just like the chips at a casino. Casinos give out chips so that it doesn’t even feel like your playing with real money. Therefore gamblers run through their chips without giving it a second thought.
Credit cards accomplish the same thing.
They are just a little plastic square (and with the new key chain cards they’re sometimes even smaller rectangles!). The credit card debt racks up and builds and builds and we’re all pretty much oblivious to it.
Well, if you want to turn things around, and if you want to begin to dig yourself out of debt then you have to pay off those credit cards.
And a great way to do that is to use a visual helper.
Let’s face it: We love visuals.
That’s why the radio is pretty much obsolete and televisions are the source of entertainment for all families. But just a television isn’t good enough. The screen has to be the size of the side of your house. And the it has to be flat. And the transmission has to be in high definition.
And using a cell phone for just texting or making phone calls isn’t enough. There has to be a colorful, high resolution screen on that cell phone.
We love visuals!
So why not use that to your advantage?
Right now figure out how much credit card debt you have. Then for every $50 or $100 take a crayon, or a toothpick, or maybe a straw and place it in a glass jar or a similar container that is see-through (a sandwich bag with crayons works great too). You should have one crayon, toothpick, or whatever for every $50 or $100 (your choice).
So if you have $5000 in credit card debt, and you’re using the $100 mark then you’d have 50 crayons, toothpicks, or whatever in your container. Place that container on your kitchen window sill or some other place where you’ll always see it.
Then every time you drop your credit card debt by $100 you should take out one crayon, toothpick, or whatever your chosen item might be. And every time you increase that debt by $100 you need to add your chosen item.
So the pile will either grow or shrink.
But just taking or putting in items will allow you to realize what you’re doing to your debt. And by seeing that stack of crayons (or whatever your item is) you will see how much debt you truly have. Then you’ll think twice before going deeper in debt.
You will have that visual there until your debt is completely paid off.
And when you have your credit cards paid off, then you can go ahead and place your empty container in your trophy case. If you don’t have one, go ahead and buy one.
Just make sure you pay cash for it.
[this article was featured at The Personal Financier]