A new study shows people would rather admit how much they weigh than how much their debt is weighing them down. According to a recent article by MSN Money that cites a study by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 40 percent of respondents were most ashamed of their credit card debt. Thirty percent were more embarrassed by their credit score, while only 12 percent were humiliated by their weight. Experts point out the average family has about $7,000 worth of credit-card debt. When I started dating my husband, I was afraid to admit how much debt I had. If I had been upfront, I would have had more time to pay off my debt before we married. He insisted I pay off my student loan and credit-card debt before we got hitched. A poll conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education found 13 percent of respondents lie about their income or debt to romantic partners, according to a recent article by Yahoo Shine. Once I started being more open and honest with my husband about my financial habits, I made positive progress.
Ignoring the advice of others
One of the ways I was able to get out of massive credit card debt was ignoring the advice of others and closing down about a dozen credit-card accounts. I had heard it would ruin my credit history, but I was motivated by paying off the debt and then letting the credit-card company know I’d no longer need their “services.” I also ignored the advice to pay off the balance with the highest interest rate first. It helped me to focus on the smaller balances first.
Having a shared account
After we married, my husband and I opened a joint account. I was forced into being transparent about may spending. Instead of being embarrassed by my credit-card debt, I now felt embarrassed when I made foolish, impulsive purchases. I stopped running up credit-card debt because I didn’t want to have to explain why I dropped $200 at the department store.
Treating debt like a curse
I channeled my shame and embarrassment about debt into a positive thing. Instead of hating myself, I hate the debt. When I started treating debt like a curse, I became urgent about paying off each credit card. If I use my credit card, I pay off the balance the same day. If I am having trouble balancing the budget for the month, I may allow my credit-card balance to creep up a little. I use online banking to set up a payment just before my payday. My limit is $100 in credit card debt for each pay period.
Ironically, my husband ended up running up some of his own credit-card debt after we got married. When he got more involved in the household finances, he was motivated to pay off his debt. Unlike me, he wasn’t embarrassed by having credit card debt. He simply viewed it as a convenience. Once he sat down and looked at how much money he was wasting in interest charges, it just made more sense to save and plan.
More from this contributor:
Why I Choose to Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck
My Kids Won’t Die in Debt to Credit Card Companies
Cutting up my Credit Cards Saved me Thousands