5 habits to give up if you want to get out of credit card debt

If you’ve racked up credit card debt, you’re not alone. Credit card users owe more than $1 trillion, and the average American has a credit card balance of $6,375.

But taking on credit card debt that isn’t immediately paid off is risky, and makes it nearly impossible for you to build savings.

To help you save more and tackle your debt, CNBC Make It rounded up five habits to give up starting today.

1. Only paying the minimum on your balance

Thanks to exorbitant interest — the typical credit card charges 16.4 percent — not paying off your balance in full each month can end up costing a fortune in the long run … and keep you in the red.

Get in the habit of making payments in full. The easiest way to do that is to make it automatic. Simply arrange to transfer the full amount of money you owe from your checking account to your credit card company every month.

2. Trying to keep up with your friends

Choosing where to live, what to wear and what gadgets to buy based on what your friends do often means spending more money than you have.

To avoid the temptation of trying to live up to your friends’ standards, dial back your use of social media, advises Derek Sall, who paid off $116,000 worth of debt before age 30.

“The best tip I can give is just live your own life,” he tells CNBC Make It. “The best way to just live simply and be content is just to turn it all off and hardly pay attention to it at all. Because that’s what gets people in the most trouble. They see ‘Oh, my friend went on this great vacation, and I wish we could do that!’”

3. Ignoring your debt

“I would recommend seriously looking at the story you tell yourself about your debt,” says Amanda Page, who paid off her $48,500 in student loans in less than a year.

Ignoring your debt — whether it be student loans or credit card debt — or telling yourself you have it under control when you don’t, will only prolong the process. And the longer you wait to tackle it, the more interest you’ll owe.

“For a long time, I resented my undergraduate debt and felt like it wasn’t mine to pay,” says Page. “Once I re-framed the story, took responsibility for my role in accumulating it and told myself that I was capable of eliminating it, then my life opened up.”

4. Going out to eat

Eating out can add up quickly. In general, the more food you can prepare at home, the more you’ll save.

“My biggest [savings tip] I learned from my parents,” says Scott Alan Turner, who paid off more than $70,000 in loans and became a millionaire by 35. “My dad worked for the town his whole life. He packed a lunch every day and brought it to work. In our small-town upbringing, we didn’t have restaurants and we didn’t go out to eat all the time.”

Turner carried that habit into to his own life: In the 10 years he spent working a corporate job, he only bought lunch out a handful of times. Instead, he cooked large batches of food on Sunday to eat throughout the week.

5. Using your plastic

If you’re deep in debt, consider ditching your plastic all together and going cash only. This doesn’t have to be a long-term strategy, but it will help you to save big relatively quickly.

Simply withdraw a predetermined amount of cash for the week and commit to spending only that amount. It’ll force you to stay on budget. Plus, using cash rather than credit cards will give you a better idea of just how much money you’re spending. You may be surprised by how quickly your cash can disappear.

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