BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Stopping the credit card debt cycle can start with saying “no,” expert says

Jul 1, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:26 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Credit card debt in the U.S. hit almost $1 trillion in the first quarter of 2023, standing at $986 billion. One financial expert says that saying “no” to impulse shopping is a good step toward reducing debt.

DMBA Certified Financial Planner Shane Stewart told Dave and Dujanovic the first step to saying “no” is to know what it is you’re saying “no” to.

“Find out what you actually spend,” he said.

Knowing what you’re spending will help you create a spending plan — which Stewart said is different than a budget because it isn’t as restrictive and hard to follow.

“If you have a spending plan, it doesn’t mean you have to adhere to that 100% of the time, it just means you have a pretty good idea.”

Stewart said that by tracking how much you’re spending, you know how much you can actually afford when you want to buy something.

Stop the credit card debt cycle

Stewart said that a part of your spending plan should be building up a cash reserve or emergency fund.

Having money tucked away means you won’t have to bring out the credit card if something unexpected happens. So if your tire blows out or you need a new car battery, you’ll have those emergency funds to lean on.

“That way, it breaks the cycle of debt.”

Stewart recommended having at least $1,000 saved up for emergencies. And, he added, building that reserve should be a priority in your spending plan.

“So if you have those two — a combination of a spending plan, and a cash reserve or some money set aside is very powerful in keeping you out of debt in the future.”

Think before you spend

Stewart advised that you give yourself time to think instead of impulsively buying something with a credit card.

Delaying that purchase gives you time to think about whether you actually want something.

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Stopping the credit card debt cycle can start with saying “no,” expert says