Friday, April 15, 2016

Change Your Think Into a Thunk: Getting Rid of Credit Card Debt

According to an article on nerd wallet, the average American household has $15,762.00 in credit card debt.

According to this article, the average APR on a credit card with a balance on it is 13.93% in Q3, 2015.

That's a lot of debt and a lot of interest! There once was a day in time when debt was frowned upon and people paid for things as they went. There was a belief in thrift and frugality in America. Somehow, the American mindset was changed and debt has become normal. 

Getting rid of debt and changing your think into a thunk is not easy in this culture we live in. If people are asked out to dinner and a movie with friends and they don't have the money, they just use the credit card. If they then decide to cut back and be thrifty, it becomes somewhat of an embarrassment to say no and, it also feels somewhat isolating. I think these are some of the reasons that people live the way they do. People don't intend to rack up debt, it's just when you are at the mall with your friends, and they are all buying stuff, you don't want to feel left out. 

However, when you get that credit card bill, the pain is private. Changing your think into a thunk means suggesting free things to do with your friends or, even staying home when they go out to dinner or the mall. That can be hard and it takes a commitment. 

Many people in this time are upset about big banks and how much money they make. But, isn't America complicit in this and isn't America guilty when people regularly volunteer to pay big banks and credit card companies interest every day simply by the choices they make? Not only that, but every time you swipe your credit card, (never mind the interest) a percentage goes to the credit card company, rather than your local establishment. This is paid for by the local communities to the banks for the simple convenience of swiping the card. Not only is America in debt, America somewhat puts itself into slavery by the choices that are made. It's time to stop.

So, first, how to get the money to start paying down your personal debt? Here are some ideas:

1. Stop going out to eat. Brown bag it for lunch for work.

2. Instead of going to see a movie, watch one at home and make your own popcorn.

3. Check your insurance rates to see if you can find better rates elsewhere.

4. Check your phone/cable rates and see if you can get better rates elsewhere.

5. If you have a mortgage, check and see if you are paying Private Mortgage Insurance, otherwise known as PMI. You are required to pay this if you don't have at least 20% down on your loan. After you have 20% down, you can drop this, but it is not likely anyone will tell you this. You could save around $100.00 a month.

6. Stop buying convenience foods and learn to cook at home. Crock-pots are a great time-saver if you work and want a hot meal ready at the end of the day when you get home and they are inexpensive to buy. 

7. Start drinking water instead of soda or coffee. Good for your health too!

8. If you buy coffee out, make it at home.

9. Stop paying for cable and get Netflix instead. You will also save time because there are no commercials and you won't see ads trying to convince you to buy more things!

10. Use your local library.

11.Shop at thrift stores for clothing. There are many like new and even new items at thrift stores.

12. Sell things you are no longer using on eBay or Craigslist.

13. Look into credit cards that have better interest rates.

14. Install a programmable thermostat and save on heating and cooling bills. 

15. Shop ads for groceries. 

There are different ideas on how to pay down that debt once you start generating money. Dave Ramsey believes in paying off the smallest card first according to his debt snowball plan: Others believe you should start with the highest interest rate card first. I think you should do what you are most comfortable with. The important thing is not how it's done, but that you start.

It feels SO good to pay down that debt and know that you are helping yourself in the process. Change your think into a thunk and.....

Happy Savings!!


  1. All wonderful ways to save money and pay down debt. I live a very frugal lifestyle, we rarely eat out, and I cook and try to grow as much as I can from scratch. We eat venison and a friend is giving me some rabbit soon too. Thanks for all the great tips! :)

    1. Living frugally equals freedom! I would love to try some rabbit sometime.