Do You Regret Your Credit Card Debt?

A significant number of Canadians have expressed remorse over their current debt levels, specifically credit card debt. An increasing concern is the habit of impulse purchasing that is driving the rise in credit card debt. This article explores this critical issue, drawing on findings from a recent survey by RateSupermarket.ca, offering insights, and proposing practical steps to mitigate this pervasive problem.

The Debt Situation in Canada

According to a survey conducted by RateSupermarket.ca, an astonishing 60% of Canadians believe they are buried beneath an excessive amount of debt. Interestingly, while mortgages generally constitute the largest portion of an individual’s debt, 38.8% of the respondents identified credit card debt as their primary concern.

This concern is not unfounded. Credit cards, with their high interest rates and ease of use, have a way of encouraging impulsive spending on non-essential items, leading to a snowball effect of accumulating debt.

The Impulse Purchase Problem

One of the most prominent contributors to credit card debt is the impulse purchase of small items and entertainment. Over time, these purchases, which often seem insignificant at the moment, can accumulate substantial interest and result in a mountain of debt.

The Regret Factor

An intriguing aspect of the study is the concept of ‘debt regret’. Over one-third of the respondents admitted to feeling regret over their impulsive purchases, more so than their home purchases. Most of these regrets were not tied to large, extravagant purchases, but rather a steady pattern of small, thoughtless purchases. This shows that many Canadians are not overspending on luxury or big-ticket items, but rather on frequent, smaller purchases.

The Denial Problem

Despite the growing concern over credit card debt, a significant number of Canadians seem to be in denial about the severity of their situation. A surprising 53% of respondents believed that their debt levels were lower than the average Canadian’s. When it came to credit card debt, this belief increased to 60.8%.

However, the actual numbers tell a different story. Over a quarter of the respondents (25.5%) admitted to owing over $5,000 on their credit cards, while nearly 10% indicated debts exceeding $14,000.

The Solution: Tracking Expenses and Budgeting

A viable solution to managing credit card debt is keeping track of expenses. Personal finance blogger, Robb Engen, shares his own experience with credit card debt, explaining that he started tracking his expenses until he had a clear understanding of his monthly spending patterns. He discovered that he was spending excessively on non-essential items like coffee, beer, and magazines.

With this newfound understanding, Engen was able to create a personal budget that allocated any extra income towards repaying his debt and building an emergency fund.

Conclusion

Credit card debt is a significant concern for many Canadians, and the problem often starts with small, impulsive purchases that accumulate over time. While it’s easy to fall into the trap of credit card debt, there are solutions available. By tracking expenses and creating a budget, it’s possible to gain control over spending habits and start reducing debt.

However, the first step to solving any problem is acknowledging that it exists. Canadians need to confront the reality of their debt levels and take proactive steps towards financial freedom.

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