{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Please don’t judge me. I have a spending problem and have wracked up about $10k in credit card debt. I created a budget and a plan to pay it all off in 12-18 months, but am worried about my spending habits. Any books, tips, etc that you recommend?", "post_id": "610739c1e63d3a0022b296be", "reply_count": 23, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "59e88be7e2808e00149b0443", "bowl_name": "Women In Consulting" }

Please don’t judge me. I have a spending problem and have wracked up about $10k in credit card debt. I created a budget and a plan to pay it all off in 12-18 months, but am worried about my spending habits. Any books, tips, etc that you recommend?

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No judgement here! I used to have credit card debt just as bad as your current debt, if not worse. What helped me was to only use debit card and to stop using credit cards entirely. I also withdrew 300-500 dollars in cash each time I got paid and hid the money away from me. After about a year of living with extremely constrained budget, I was able to better hold myself accountable to spending money.

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Just today listened to the podcast "be uncluttered." Maybe try that and other minimalist podcasts. Even if you don't adopt that lifestyle, you will have some tools to rethink buying more stuff. I'd suggest figuring out why you shop. Are you bored? Sad? Celebrating? Then list out what other non-buying habits you can adopt in those moments. Finally, it really helps to have friends with similar ideas about "stuff." Are your friends always buying, sharing, comparing, etc. If so, consider finding another reference group. It's hard but worth it! You're right to consider that paying it off is not the biggest issue here because if you keep up the habit, you will be right back where you started.

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Added the podcast to my list…thank you!

I would say pay yourself first by saving. I like to spend as well, but always make sure I have an emergency fund in place. You can also allocate some to your purchases. I hate having a balance on my cc, so when I make a big purchase the $$$ is sitting in my checking account ready to pay off the balance. Additionally I make a wishlist of things I want and always think about how I can say $$ on something. Will it go on sale, so I actually want the item, are there rewards I can’t get through work that will lower the balance. Patience helps a lot, and I often take a lot of things off the wishlist too

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Ok so between 2017 & 2019, I racked up $50k in credit card debt. I was in school full-time and trying to stay afloat AND I have a shopping problem. I started budgeting in 2016 but while I was in school I had to be super strict since I lived off savings and didn’t have a safety net. I managed to climb out of that massive debt by sticking to my budget. But I also had to change my relationship with credit cards. I still use mine but I pay them off each week. I don’t use my debit card for anything so I’m not burning the candle at both ends. Before I buy anything I sit on it for at least a day to see if I really need it and I got a higher paying job to drive the debt down a lot faster. You need a budget, on you have to adhere to so there’s no wiggle-room. Pay yourself, your bills, give yourself a little spending money then use anything leftover to attack your debt. I’m happy to chat if you want. I essentially used the debt snowball method to get out of debt.

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Thank you for sharing your story and for the advice! That gives me hope.

Dave Ramsey is a classic. I think his advice is sound for the most part and he has tons of great content and stories. If you truly have a spending problem you can also seek therapy to find out what void you’re trying to fill, and fill it in other ways.

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A friend and her husband followed his advice to get out of debt. It was very empowering for them.

YNAB

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Check YouTube. About a few months ago I was looking at budgeting advice on there and there were tons of videos on how to get your finances in order.

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Are you the same person who posted this few week/months ago? Sorry no judgements here but that post had some great suggestions.

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Never mind I found it. Lots of good suggestions there as well

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I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi! Very down to earth, frank, specific advice that addresses debt and will help you feel more comfortable to get a game plan together

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I second this rec! Particularly love that the framework is flexible in that it centers around budgeting for things you care about (regardless of what that is) and cutting expenses for things that don’t matter to you as much.

I set aside spending money each month! You can send some of your money from your paycheck directly into your savings account and then allocate some money into a "slush" fund for your spending. The only money you can spend on fun things (excluding rent, car payments, utilities, food) is what's in the slush fund. I have a 24 hour rule. So for things like clothes and shoes, i don't buy it unless I've thought about it for 24 hours. I also try to make sure that I can wear that item for 5+ events in the future so i don't buy things i only wear once

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Maybe don't have a credit card or lower your limits (I always lower the limit when I first get my card. Doing it after it's been open awhile will negatively impact your credit score because you'll have higher utilization. But imo, it's worth it if it saves you thousands of dollars a year in unnecessary spending and interest payments). Alternatively, you can figuratively and literally freeze your cards. Remove them from Apple/Google pay and only link you Debit Card. Commit to paying with cash only for a few months or the year. You'll miss out of rewards, but you'll build strong habits. Good luck!

If OP isn't spending as much, a lower credit limit shouldn't be a huge negative impact. And personally, paying 1% extra interest rate, is better than spending $10k + paying CC interest rates (APR 20%+?) If OP is planning a bunch of major purchases in a year, then perhaps don't take this approach. Otherwise, OP could easily maintain a similar utilization rate with lower credit limit and lower spending. Additionally, the hit in credit score would start recovering over the coming months. And then OP could ask for a credit limit increase after a year of good habits. In other words, there are many nuances to this. Could just lower the limit of one card that you have regular access to. Depends on what the current credit score is. Just something to look into. When there is a serious spending concern, drastic measures sometimes are needed. Imagine OP spending $10k on CC, plus $2k in fees over the next decade. There is no way $120k is worst then slightly higher interest rates on a home, car, and anything else. And that's assuming a full ten years of lower credit score, which isn't the case. Anyway, just a possible option to be explored and vetted.

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