“My Dog Ate My Credit Card Statement” – When Your Excuses Signal the Need for Credit Card Debt Relief

Rebecca Bloomwood, the main character of the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, while hardly a good role model, can certainly teach us a thing or two about the dangers of out of control credit card debt.  Ms. Bloomwood wins the award for the most outlandish excuses for not paying her credit card debt, citing loss of limbs due to a parachuting accident to glandular fever.  But if you find yourself identifying with her credit situation, it is clearly time to consider credit card debt relief options.

First Steps Toward Credit Card Debt Relief

If you have the means to pay off more than your minimum balance on your credit card(s), then you may be able to tackle the problem with a hefty dose of spending discipline.

Start With Putting a Halt to Credit Card Purchases

First off, stop the bleeding.  Don’t incur any more debt, and focus instead on paying off your credit card debt.  If you have more than one credit card with a balance, the best strategy is to focus on your paying down your credit card with the highest interest rate first.  Pay the minimum balance on all others so you avoid penalty fees, then pay as much as you can over the minimum on your highest interest rate card until you get the balance down to zero.  Keep employing this strategy until you pay off all of your balances.

Consider Transferring Your Balance(s) to a 0% Balance Transfer Credit Card

If you can qualify for a 0% balance transfer card, you could transfer the balance from your credit card and pay no interest for a set time period, typically six months to a year (although periods up to 21 months are available).  Ideally, you should pay off the balance before the 0% grace period ends, and thus incur no additional interest on your balance.  If you can’t do it within the time frame, make sure you obtain a card with a low enough interest rate to make the transfer worthwhile.

If you find you cannot manage to get your credit card debt under control on your own, then you may want to seek professional help.  Consider credit counseling, credit card debt settlement, or even bankruptcy.

What Happens After You Get Back on Track?

While you may be wary of letting credit cards back into our life after suffering from out of control credit card debt, there are good reasons for getting back on that horse.  It is a good idea to get your credit rating back into a respectable range, which you will need if you ever need to take out a loan (to buy a car or a house, for example).

So if you are Rebecca Bloomwood, can you get a bad credit credit card?  There are a surprising number of options available to you.  If you think you may fall back into your old bad spending habits, then a secured credit card may be your best choice.  Secured credit cards require you to put up money as collateral, usually around $300 to $500.  You can then make purchases on credit against your deposit, capping your spending to no more than you can afford.

There are unsecured credit cards for bad credit available, if you think you, unlike Ms. Bloomwood, are disciplined enough keep your spending under control.  Keep in mind, however, that these typically carry high interest rates.  So if decide to get a bad credit credit card that is unsecured, look carefully at the interest rates and fees, as carrying a balance on these cards could land you right back where you started from, seeking credit card debt relief.