Credit card debt can be crippling and hard to get out of. Plus, it can take many years to pay off depending on the amount you owe and how dedicated you are to paying it off quickly.
Once you’ve finally paid off the debt, you need to make sure you don’t follow the same path again. Does that mean you should close your credit cards?
The answer is that it depends. Take a look at these categories and see which one you fall under to figure out what is best for you and your financial health.
Prone to Temptation
Do you feel like items at the store are calling your name? Do you have an urge to spend money on things that you don’t need?
If you just can’t pass up those new boots, or resist a sale on golf clubs, or you grab everything that looks good in a store, then you may have an appetite for spending.
Keeping your credit cards open at this time may be more of a temptation than you can handle and might cause a relapse to your old habits and an accumulation of more debt.
For now, it’s probably best to close your cards, start a budget, and examine your spending habits.
If you can live on a budget and stick to it, passing by “wants” every time you go to the store, then you’ve got great self-control! Pat yourself on the back. If you are in this category, then you are probably ok to leave your card open and use it responsibly.
However, leaving your card open is only recommended if you can:
- Pay off the balance in full every month
- Resist overspending on purchases
Will Work For Rewards
Most credit cards offer enticing rewards, and this is great if you can spend and pay wisely! You may be so set on earning those sky miles that you couldn’t possibly think of closing a certain card.
If you fall into the “in control” group, you can easily pick and choose which rewards cards you want to keep. If you fall into the prone to temptation crowd (and you still insist on keeping one card open), then examine the benefits and the fine print closely.
It may seem like you are getting a fantastic reward, but if you are only racking up debt to earn it, it’s definitely not worth it! Also, avoid cards that charge you a yearly fee or a usage fee, there are plenty of other options available.
For more budgeting and credit repair advice, visit our tips and tricks page.