Getting ‘Sucked’ Into the Social Comparison Game!

October 26, 2011 by  Filed under: Credit 

David Coorey from Legal Aid recently informed the House Economics Committee it is not uncommon to see people with credit card debts in Australia of up to $20,000

What this shows is that so many of us believe it’s more important to keep up with the Jones’ than it is to be debt free, with reduced stress and anxiety. In saying this though, we seem to live in a society where we are measured by what we own. It’s really sad that we measure ourselves and others by what car we drive, what clothes we are wearing, how big our house is and what schools our children will attend. People would rather spend $600 on a new pair of shoes then $100 on their health. Yet good health brings about long term happiness and makes you feel happier every single day.

All the research on happiness shows that once your primary needs are met, increasing material possessions only brings about short-term increases in happiness. This is even the case when you win the lottery. What’s interesting though is that due to society’s search for quick-fix solutions to stress, depression and sadness it’s very easy to work on impulse and purchase things in the moment. As a result you accumulate more credit card debt, so you stress about not having enough money which in turns results in an increased desperation to reduce this stress – so you spend more. Debt usually breads more debt…

it’s a very easy trap to get into. A quick strategy to practice when you are overwhelmed with debt is to make sure you ask yourself “how will this purchase change my life” BEFORE you put anything on your credit card. Be honest about this answer. Think about the long term consequence too. Is the additional debt on your credit card

The next step is to devise a plan for getting out of debt. Everyone tells you it’s really easy, but it can seem very daunting when you have a $20,000 credit card debt – how do you even chip away at this when you’ve reached the limit on your cards and you’re now in trouble because the interest you’re being charged is taking you over the limit? Well there are a number of options here:

1) If you have a home loan, talk to your bank about consolidating your credit card debts. You will have to chop up your cards after you do this. Most banks will ask you to sign a document stating you will do this. Not a bad option really because you can start with a clean slate

2) If you have multiple cards, pay the minimum off the ones that you owe the most and then make a plan to pay off in full the smallest cards first. This gives you a sense of accomplishment and you can then move on with confidence to your next card.

3) If you only have one credit card, calculate your budget and where you can save a bit of money, for instance switching to some home brand products at shopping, not buying flowers for your home, buying in bulk, walking to work instead of paying for public transport, going to the market to purchase your meat and vegetables, cancelling a subscription (e.g. to magazines, or cable TV), or swapping your mobile phone to a cheaper provider. Once you have saved a bit of money, add this to your monthly credit card bill. You need to pay more than the monthly amount, otherwise it will takes YEARS to pay off.

If you want to be happy day-to-day, remind yourself that material possessions DO NOT bring long term happiness. No matter how much your ‘own’ you can’t take it with you… and there will always be someone with more!

Life is meant to be about enjoying life. When you take control of your money, you increase your self esteem and feel better about yourself as a person. You can then think clearly about your future. Then when you have the money, you can purchase the things you like – guilt free – and can trully enjoy them…

Focus on When you focus on your goodness, more goodness will come. This is a fact of life.

Find out more about self esteem and happiness at:

For more information on Aus credit card debt see: ( )

Article Source:'Halloran

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