There’s a difference between carrying a small balance on your credit card that can be paid off within a month or two, and a credit card balance that is so high that when your creditor adds the interest you owe at the end of the month, it maxes out your card.
Even if you have some wiggle room before you max out your credit card, each one of us has a threshold where our debt turns from a nuisance into a crippling problem.
The thing is how much debt one can incur before it becomes stressful varies. A debt amount that may result in crippling stress for one person may not even make someone else flinch. It’s just another way that personal finance is personal.
Although financial debt affects people differently, there are some signs that your debt is more stressful than you may have acknowledged. If that happens to be you, know that help is available to you. To start, schedule a complimentary budget analysis with one of DebtWave’s certified credit counselors here.
5 Signs Your Credit Card Debt is Stressing You Out
1. You AVOID Your Credit Card Statements at All Costs
The truth is you have no idea how much you charge on your credit card every month. After a few months of credit card bills that were higher than you anticipated, you’ve come to find that delaying or just flat out ignoring that credit card statement didn’t make your debt go away either. If anything, your debt likely increased while you were pretending it didn’t exist.
It’s best to check your statement at least once per billing cycle so that you can be sure all the charges on your statement belong to you! Even if identity theft is not the reason for your high credit card balance, knowing how much you owe is the first step in becoming debt-free.
Plus, reviewing your statement can help you figure out where you’re spending your money. And the results may surprise you.
Take for example one of DebtWave’s clients who lives in Maui, Hawaii. She recently shared with us that after reviewing her credit card statements, she discovered she was charging upwards of $1,000 per month on takeout and dining at restaurants for her family of six!
2. You Downplay the Amount of Debt You Owe to Your Partner
It’s not that you’re necessarily lying or hiding your debt from your significant other, they know that the debt exists, they just may not exactly know how much debt you incurred, and you don’t bother to update them regularly on the exact debt load you have.
In fact, your partner may have even continued to make purchases or ask you to do something seemingly simple such as ordering take out using that card because, in their mind, the debt is a fraction of what it really is. Instead of coming forward and telling your spouse that you’re uncomfortable spending more until you pay off some debt as a team, you take on the stress of paying off your credit card debt solo.
In other words, if you’re feeling embarrassed surrounding your debt situation, it may be time to seek professional help. Feeling shame for your finances is something many of us have experienced, but you don’t have to suffer – especially alone – for making financial mistakes.
The thing is, though, while you don’t have to beat yourself up for making financial mistakes in the past, at some point, you must take responsibility for your financial situation and figure out a way to get back on your financial feet.
There’s No Joy in Using Your Credit Card
You’ve heard of retail therapy and may have even experienced that temporary euphoric high that comes with swiping your card and getting something you really wanted. But when your credit card debt is too high? Swiping your card doesn’t necessarily come with a temporary high – it’s more like holding your breath hoping your card doesn’t get declined, holy crap, how am I ever going to pay this debt off, panicked feeling.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed your debt has affected your ability to enroll your kids in various after-school activities like sports, music, or other extracurricular activities.
You may cut out charging things that you want but don’t exactly need right away like new clothes, vacations, golf outings, dining out, or video games. But at some point, there is nothing left to cut and your high debt amount may start to impact your ability to afford groceries, toiletries, your housing payment, and more.
If you’ve noticed that you’re struggling to afford the minimum payments on your credit cards or if you’re struggling to afford basic needs like food, water, and rent, it may be time to get help.
Your Financial Stress Pops Up in Other Areas of Your Life
Normally you’re a very put-together person. You keep your emotions in check, you have patience talking to your children, you’re very focused at work – but when your credit card debt gets uncomfortably high, the financial stress seeps into every aspect of your life.
Suddenly you have no patience, no focus, and tasks that once seemed easy now feel almost impossible. Your mind is always thinking about money, debt, not feeling like you have enough. You may have lost interest in hobbies and activities that once brought you happiness, and you may have noticed changes in your diet and exercise, as well as your sleeping patterns.
Financial stress can also affect your mental health – you may feel more depressed and anxious, you may feel like you have a shorter fuse when it comes to your temper, and it may affect your relationships with family, friends, and even colleagues.
If you notice your financial stress is affecting you in other areas, it’s time to do something about your financial situation.
You Know You Need Help, You Don’t Know Where to Turn
Maybe you know you’re at the end of your proverbial financial rope and know you need help with your credit card debt, but you just don’t know where to turn.
At DebtWave we have a team of real people who understand what it’s like to be overwhelmed by debt. And we also understand that asking for help or trusting someone to help you with your finances can be incredibly frightening – especially if you’re not familiar with personal finance or if you’ve been financially taken advantage of in the past.
This is why DebtWave Credit Counseling offers a complimentary budget analysis to residents of 46 states plus Washington, DC. Our certified credit counselors know you are a real person with real wants, needs, hopes, and desires, which is why our priority is to help you create a budget that works for you.
We also offer complimentary sessions with our credit coach to clients actively enrolled in our debt management program. This way you can get personalized tips on how to improve your credit score based on your personalized budget and financial needs and wants.
Ready to improve your financial situation? Schedule an appointment with one of our certified credit counselors here!