Ten expenses to
avoid if you have credit card debt
A gym membership: A gym membership is a luxury, even if
you do use it on a regular basis. Your health is important,
but there are other ways to stay in shape. Instead of
running on a treadmill, go for a run in the park. If you
need more motivation, most cities have running clubs that
are free to join. You don’t need all of the weightlifting
machines, either. You can do pushups, pull-ups and squats
without leaving your house. Use gallon jugs of water to give
you extra resistance.
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Cable: Watching TV is bad for your budget. In addition to
the cable fee, television encourages you to spend money that you
don’t have. All those commercials are designed to tempt you into
buying things you don’t need. Switch it off and go for that run.
Eating out: Going out to restaurants is fun, but it’s not
a necessity. It’s much cheaper to cook your own meals. Get a
couple cookbooks from the library and try some new recipes.
Late fees: The best way to avoid late fees is to
remember to pay your bills on time. This helps you in two
ways. First, you avoid the extortionate penalties. Second,
your credit score.
With a better credit score, you can borrow money at a lower
Recreational shopping: For many people, shopping is not
just about buying things. It’s a social activity, a form of
entertainment and a mood-booster. If you want to get out of
debt, you must change your attitude towards shopping. Don’t go
shopping unless you plan to buy something specific. Don’t plan
to buy something that you do not genuinely need.
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Junk food: Potato chips are the most expensive way of
eating one of the world’s cheapest foods. Junk food is
overpriced and bad for you. Real food is much cheaper,
especially if you cook it yourself (see number 3).
Smoking is even worse
for you than junk food. It’s also more expensive. Use your new
frugal lifestyle as an excuse to kick the habit.
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Buying DVDs: Buying a DVD is cheaper than going to the
movies which, in itself, is cheaper than going to the theater.
But DVDs are still a waste of money. If you want to see a film,
rent the DVD or borrow it from your local library. Just remember
to return it on time to avoid late fees.
Designer clothes: This one is obvious. If you have credit card
debt, you will have to learn to live without expensive labels.
That’s how people get into debt in the first place. Designer
clothes are, by their very definition, items of luxury. If
you’re in debt, you cannot afford luxury.
High interest rates: If you have credit cards with high
interest rates, then you’re simply throwing your money away.
That’s the last thing you want to do when you are already in
debt. Try transferring the balances from high-interest cards to
ones with a lower APR.
Alternatively, debt consolidation may be the best option for
you. Consider consolidating your debts into a single loan. The
interest on that loan may be lower than on your credit cards.