It’s one of the most exciting moments of your life. You’re tired of using one credit card to pay off another. You can no longer bear the intense pressure building within your chest each time the electric bill collides with a credit card bill in the mailbox. You’ll never again feel financially helpless because you’ve decided to stop the madness.
This is the day you cancel your credit cards. You’re so proud of yourself, and you can’t wipe the smile off your face. Armed with a sense of empowerment gained from Christian credit counseling, you see a future of financial peace ahead of you.
Taking a step like this is exciting, but there are always hard times to come when you make a drastic life change. If you’ve been living on credit for years, it’s difficult to suddenly start living within your means without the plastic in your wallet screaming, “I got your back! Go on and splurge!”
A Moment of Panic
It will likely happen when your teenager selects the most expensive pair of shoes in the mall or when your colleagues suggest dinner and drinks at the most exclusive club in town. You walk toward the register with those expensive shoes or get excited about a fun night out, and then reality smacks the smile right off your face.
You don’t have that plastic card backing you up. The shoes are double the price you can really afford to pay. Your budget isn’t quite generous enough to accommodate the best after-work party in town.
It’s as if someone just whacked you in the throat with a hockey stick. You feel sick. You can’t breathe. You want to cry. This is the death of a credit card, and you’re having your first credit-to-cash panic attack. You don’t want to turn your colleagues down or ask your teenager to find a more affordable pair of shoes, but you now understand: If you don’t sacrifice now, you will have to sacrifice your peace of mind in the future.
You Will Get Through This!
These experiences are normal for anyone transitioning from a lifestyle of debt to a lifestyle of financial responsibility. Now that you know it’s coming, here is one tip that will help you survive this transitional period: think in terms of substitutions rather than eliminations.
You can’t afford routine after-work visits to that exclusive club, but can you make another suggestion to your group? Maybe you can take turns hosting the group at your homes once a week, or you can suggest a venue that’s more appropriate to your budget. You may find that others are relieved you made the suggestion. They may not admit it, but you’re not struggling alone.
We’re on Your Side
Another way to make this process easier is to invest your time in ongoing debt counseling. Just like a recovering alcoholic is more successful if they attend weekly AA meetings, your chance of enjoying financial success increases if you meet with your Credit Counselor and attend classes on financial topics.
Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.