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When you consider credit card debt and its effect on a marriage, which is especially worse when only one person in the relationship has created debt, it is important to understand how this affects both of your futures truly. Even if you are equally responsible, credit card debt can be very stressful on marriage and all relationships.
First, you need to understand the situation. Look at it realistically and determine what you are going to do from now and into the future. If you and your spouse have a serious goal, you can make it through this.
Prerequisites to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt
If you are determined to get out of credit card debt you surely can. Sure, it is a bit difficult but it is not impossible. All you need to get out of credit card debt is determination and planning.
Power of Determination
Determination does not come without proper reason. So, you need to first ask this question to yourself: “What will I get if I am able to get out of credit card debt? What difference will it make? What is in it for me? Is it beneficial to get out of credit card debt?”
Use the answers to build your determination. The fact that all the nagging via mail/phone (by the credit card supplier and/or their collection agent), will be gone, should do good to strengthen your determination and should provide you with a reason why you should endeavor to get out of credit card debt.
Think about a stress-free life after you get out of credit card debt. Try to link various reasons together and try to see the benefits through them. All these collectively will help in bolstering your determination and prevent it from getting weak at any point in time.
The second thing that you need to get out of credit card debt is planning. This process starts with making a list of the credit cards that you currently possess and noting the debt and the APR for each of them. The sum of all these various credit card debts will give you the total credit card debt. You also need to check if you have been defaulting on payments on some of these credit cards (and hence incurring a late fee).
You will need to avoid that and put it on the plan you have prepared to get out of credit card debt. The next step in getting out of credit card debt is to check your current financial position and assess what you expect your future financial position to be.
Next comes the research to check the various balance transfer offers available in the market; to see if one of these can prove beneficial to you. Use all this information to calculate how much time you will require to get out of credit card debt. Determine how you will distribute the debt payment across your various credit cards (ensuring that you pay off the debt that is hitting you the most and also ensuring that you don’t incur late fees on any credit card payments).
Credit Card Debt Elimination
Now that you have decided to go for credit card debt elimination, perhaps you are wondering on what the methods for credit card debt elimination are. As they say, let us take the bull by its horns and lay it all flat on the ground.
There are generally 2 recommendations that are most common for credit card debt elimination: controlling the expenditures and consolidating debt. Let’s review both of these debt elimination recommendations:
Control Your Urge to Spend
Before you can tackle high interest debt, you must be realistic about it. Start with adding it all up and getting it in a spreadsheet so that you can really and truly know what you are doing with it.
Next, it is time to focus on controlling your expenditures. Here we are talking about the payments you make using your credit card. Remember that the main reason you are getting into debt is owing to uncontrolled expenditures using your credit card. So, if you are serious about reducing debt, this is the starting point to preventing the further accumulation of same.
Here is what you can do to control your expenditures:
- Stay Away from Attractive Offers that are put up by various shops and stores. Do not buy anything that you do not really need. After all, you are looking for debt elimination, not supplementation.
- Leave Your Credit Card at Home. If you really need something, then you can fetch your credit card from your house. This will prevent you from yielding to the too-attractive-to-resist sale offers. This debt elimination technique, again, works on the principle of prevention is better than cure. This will prevent unplanned expenses from happening.
- Prepare A Monthly Budget and Stick To It. This is really a very important debt elimination strategy. This budget will form the basis of your credit card debt elimination plan. So, if you deviate from your budget, your strategic plan will go for a toss.
Debt consolidation or moving from high APR credit cards to a low APR one is generally the first step (the first reactive step) for debt elimination.
Here are a few things that you need to do:
- Do not go for the first balance offer you come across. Analyze various offers and choose the one that best suits you. This will be an important thing on your credit card debt elimination plan. Initial APR, Initial APR period, and standard Apr, all need to be considered.
- Read the fine print on the balance transfer offer and check the terms and conditions on these. These might affect your overall debt elimination plan.
- Compare other benefits e.g. rebates, reward points, etc., before you actually decide to go for one of the offers.
Credit card debt elimination is about proper planning and discipline. So, make certain your debt elimination plan is bulletproof and stick to it.
How Debt Can Affect Your Relationship
Managing finances poorly can be a deal-breaker when it comes to dating and marriage no matter how long you and your partner have been together. An unbalanced budget can drastically harm a relationship. People who suffer from heavy consumer debt may be viewed negatively by potential partners.
Credit card debt is the most unfavorable kind of debt in a relationship. While many Americans suffer from debt, those who owe more than $11,000 are disproportionately more likely to lose a romantic partner as a result of their debt. Most people who have credit cards carry a monthly balance.
Many arguments within a relationship might be sparked by money and financial difficulties. A person’s credit may be harmed if they cannot predictably pay off their obligation.
Interest (and fees) can grow a balance to the point where it can get beyond the spender’s control. Beyond interest, many credit card issuers charge fees for late payments, balance transfers, cash advances, and foreign transactions, among other things. Some issuers even charge an annual fee just to use the card.
Below are five things to consider to ensure that credit card debt does not harm your relationship:
Consider Legal Responsibility
Even if you are equally responsible for creating the debt each state has its own rules about who is responsible if one of you should die or if you get a divorce. This is an important consideration moving forward. No one wants to leave their family crippled with debt.
It can be hard, especially if one party feels guiltier (or angry) than the other party in the relationship, but if you want to get through this it’s important that you keep commutating about it in a non-accusatory manner.
One way to ensure that you come through this whole is to find someone who specializes in consumer debt and marriage counseling to work with. This may be a counselor, but it may also be a relationship and money coach as well. Either way, you both need to be on board to work together on this.
Dealing with consumer debt is not going to be fixed overnight. The best way to go about it is to work toward paying it down each month and not using credit cards. You’re better off paying them off than saving money because of the high interest. People who work toward paying them down each month tend to avoid making the same mistake again, as opposed to people who get a loan to pay them off.
Think About the Future
Credit is something that can make or break your future. Is that $2000 bed worth it even if there is no interest for the first 12 months? You must be realistic about what your budget can afford regarding debt. If you can’t pay off the debt in six months to a year, it’s probably too much.
Avoid Credit Card Debt
The best way to deal with any debt is simply not to take it on without serious thought about how it affects your budget. Make a rule when you buy something on credit that you must pay it off by a certain time to avoid high-interest charges. Try not to use more than 20 to 30 percent of your available credit at a time.
Debt elimination is about proper planning and discipline. So, make your credit card debt elimination plan and stick to it.
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