Should I get rid of my credit cards? They're eating me alive. Some people tell me to cut them up, but I can't because my job requires me to travel a lot. How can I hold on to them and overcome my debt problem at the same time?
Credit cards are not evil. The problem is the abuse of credit cards. Credit cards and debit cards are just as much a form of money as cash; in fact, they are the only way to perform certain transactions – like renting a car, for instance. We live in a modern society, and we have to be able to use the tools that are appropriate to that society. As a business person who travels a great deal, you probably encounter many situations in which it's not practical to be without a credit card. But that doesn't mean that your problem is unsolvable.
In general, travel doesn't require you to have several different credit cards. So keep one and get rid of the rest. It's very easy and extremely common to have a dozen credit cards, lose track of the balance on each one, and overspend a little bit here and a little bit there, often with disastrous results. But if you have one credit card, you will always know the balance on that card and you'll have a fairly good idea of whether you're able to pay it off within the normal thirty-day billing cycle. For all these reasons, having only one credit card is a good idea whether you're traveling or not. Most of the excuses people give for having multiple cards simply aren't valid.
Once you've simplified your situation in this way, make a plan for eliminating all of your accumulated credit card debt. Set a target date by which you would like to be able to pay off the entire balance on your one remaining card. In the meantime, remember that debit cards are now accepted at most places of business and may be a better alternative.
For additional help and information on this topic, we'd encourage you to consult the resources and referrals highlighted below. Or if you have relationship concerns and challenges associated with this situation, please don't hesitate to give our Counseling department a call.
Managing Your Credit Card Offers: Ron Blue offers wisdom for considering credit card company offers and examines the importance of paying off credit card debt.
Family and Personal Finances (resource list)
Crown Financial Ministries
Money and Finances