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While a recent study indicates that overall credit card debt has declined over the last year, with average cardholder debt still topping $6,500, paying off balances is an ongoing struggle for many consumers.
A person with $6,500 in credit card debt at an 18-percent interest rate will take 25 years to pay off their debt if they only make the minimum monthly payments.
In addition to the $6,500 principal, cardholders will pay an additional $9,173 in interest, meaning that $6,500 in purchases will cost the consumer $15,673.
Cutting up credit cards is one way to a consumer can ensure he won’t use them. Another would be to secure cards in a safe deposit box at the bank or other hard to reach location to make impulse purchases much harder. Before making any purchase, ask “Do I really need this? Can I pay for it with cash?” If you answer no to either question, skip the purchase. Ideally, a consumer should only use credit as he would cash, when he knows he can pay the bill off on time and in full.