Once upon a time if someone said to me they were having coffee with Ralph Lauren, Camilla and Marc, or Bec & Bridge I may have said “Mind if I join you?”…but now I know better. Internet shopping has brought designers to our fingertips and your dream outfit is a short click away, it has become increasingly easy to overload your basket and your credit card. We are living in a world of instant gratification and many people are having problems paying off their credit cards. It’s no wonder, with purchasing being easier than ever.

If you have an instant-gratification consumption addiction you may need to seek help. Meanwhile let me give you a few hints as to how to manage credit card debt.

Firstly, you need to tally up all your debts so you know exactly how much you owe. If you have multiple credit cards, check each statement carefully and note the total amount owing as well as the interest rate of the card.

It may be worth consolidating your debt; as to how best to do that would depend on your situation. Some people will consolidate their debt into the lowest interest rate card and close the other cards. This method can work very well depending how much you owe and how much you can afford to pay off. Some prefer to start off by targeting the credit card with the highest interest rate and others may prefer to pay off the smallest amount first to create momentum.

Discipline is key and ideally you would not spend more than you earn. Paying off the full amount of your credit card each month is the most favourable way to avoid interest charges.

If your credit card continues to be a burden it may be worth considering paying it off and replacing it with a debit card that enables you to use your own money with the convenience of being able to pay for purchases when shopping online. However, if you sincerely feel you can’t go without the convenience of a credit card, shop around for one with low interest and low fees. There are lots to choose from, so do some homework and make sure your credit card is working for you, not the other way around.

Looking beyond the debt is also very important. Have a financial goal such as saving for a house deposit or a car can help you set your sights on bigger, better things. Once your credit cards are paid in full the money routine of putting an amount aside should extent to saving money rather than paying off debt.

If you are not sure how to manage your debt or it has all become too overwhelming please get help if you need it. There are community organisations as well as some government agencies that can help with financial counselling. There are also free legal services such as Legal Aid that can assist if you are having legal problems due to debt.

We are only a phone call away to assist you in creating a new financial plan to a more positive future.