Figure out where you’re spending foolishly and nip it in the bud

According to, Americans have amassed massive debt on small purchases. You know – you want to go out to dinner with friends but don’t have the cash. So you charge it. And then you pay interest on that meal. Not exactly a wise use of resources.

On the flip side, those same people are much more conscientious about the larger purchases, saving up for and budgeting them. It seems to be that the smaller purchases, often impulse buys, are adding up and snowballing into too much debt.

If you find yourself in this situation – facing massive credit card debt with an already tight budget – there are things you can do. The first step is to just call the credit card company and face the music. Call the lender and explain that you can’t afford to pay off the balance, but that you do want to pay it off. Very often, they will lower the amount due and let you pay it off in monthly installments, rather than let the loan default. Another alternative they often offer is to lower the interest or your payment. If it’s possible to pay off your debt, do so. If not, don’t run and hide. Face the music.

Next, realize that you should use credit cards to pay for necessities only. No more impulse spending. Don’t spend money on extravagant gifts, look for deals, use coupons, don’t eat out, and stay away from the mall. If you shop at freestanding stores, you won’t be lured into other stores and into buying things you don’t really need and didn’t budget for.

Challenge yourself. Look for ways to entertain yourself without spending money. Go for walks in the park. Spend time with your family over board games instead of going out to the movies or to dinner. Clip coupons and see how many good deals you can rack up. All these things will save you money – money you can put toward freeing yourself from debt.