Credit cards seem like a necessary evil these days. They can be a great way to build a credit report that shines, but they are also a great way to ruin your credit. While it may seem easy enough not to amass credit card debt, it really can be quite difficult.
Once you are in debt it can be hard to get out with all the fees and interest you suddenly get hit with. Let me put it this way, if you are spending years repaying credit card debt, then you don’t have money to set aside and build wealth and security on.
One of the most attractive features of a credit card is the pure convenience. Thankfully there is an alternative to your credit card that is just as convenient – your Interac Debit card. The bonus? Your Interac Debit card will not put you into debt and can help you live comfortably within your means.
Another selling point of the credit card is reward points. You should consider however that these points will not reward you with anything truly free as you will end up paying interest on your balance. An alternative to this is to just collect store points and pay with your own money through your Interac debit card – interest free.
Interac wants to challenge Canadians to use their own money instead of credit for 21 days to help us all live within our means and avoid incurring more credit card debt. To get started you will want to check out the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge microsite which features 21 helpful videos from financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade.
The very first tip is one that I actually learned from Gail years ago and I used at a time when credit card debt was a real struggle for me. It involves placing your credit card in a plastic baggy, and putting that in a bowl filled with water and then freezing it. The idea is that you will not easily be tempted to grab your credit card to spend on a whim. This worked quite well for me and I actually got through a few months without my credit card which allowed me to really work on reducing that debt.
It’s crazy to think about now, but back then I would have laughed at the suggestion of being associated with frugal anything. Freezing my credit card and living off what was in my bank account was hard at first but it was the life event that really got me on the path towards financial stability.
We’ve recently had some bad luck in a few different areas (an upcoming move, a car breakdown and my laptop self-destructing) which has forced us to not only spend our rainy day funds but also get into a bit more credit card debt than I normally like to get into. It is nice to have my credit card as a safety net but now I have to start the process of getting out of that debt and that means not incurring any new debt.
I’m going to be taking the Interac 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge to help kick-start a return to better financial habits and to speed up getting out of that debt. Will you join me?
It’s easy to get started. All you have to do is sign up with your email address at 21DaysCreditFree.ca to receive daily financial guidance to help you get debt free faster.
Disclosure: This post was part of a sponsored collaboration with Interac® Association.
Interac is a registered trade-mark of Interac Inc. Used under license.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!