How does credit card debt affect your physical and mental health?

With the credit card, the habit of being able to buy and defer payment is born. This is a practice that is on the rise. In fact, cash payments are becoming less frequent and the fact is that the card makes it very easy for us. In addition, the pandemic has contributed to the increase in card payments and, as confirmed by a survey carried out by the Bank of Spain, 2.5% of the population declared that they had stopped using cash due to the coronavirus.

One of the consequences that derive from this change in trend and that has to do with the mental health of the Spanish is that, according to experts, the indebtedness that the use of credit cards entails may be the origin of what is known as “financial stress“. In fact, according to the latest data from the study COVID-19 Global Impactfrom the health insurer Cigna, personal and family finances are the fourth (30%) and fifth (29%) causes of stress in Spain, respectively, after uncertainty about the future, the risk of contagion by covid and overinformation about the pandemic.

Eyes that do not see, pocket that empties

Stopping paying in cash means, among other things, that we stop touching the money with which we purchase products and services. What happens then is that there is a double loss of consciousness, since you neither see the money you spend nor the packages of the products you buy.

Now, this does not mean that credit card purchases are a bad option per se. In fact, this habit can only be considered a danger when it is carried out without a minimum knowledge of finances.

So the misuse of credit is perfectly avoidable if ten tips are put into practice:

  1. Make financial planning in January for the whole year.
  2. Carry out a follow-up of this planning.
  3. Set monthly budgets.
  4. Reserve a part of the income for purchases, expenses or investments planned until the end of the year, especially for holidays or Christmas purchases. These would be the desirable percentages:
  5. Have 55% for essential expenses: housing, electricity, water, gas, supermarket, etc. Housing spending should move between 30 and 35% maximum.
  6. Set aside 10% savings for unforeseen events or for large expenses such as vacations, car, Christmas, etc.
  7. Save a maximum of 10% for leisure: restaurants, cinema, theater, etc.
  8. Count between 5 and 10% for education and personal growth: courses, books, coaching, etc.
  9. The expert proposes to invest between 10 and 15% for long-term savings or investment.
  10. If possible, dedicate 5% to donations to an NGO or people in need

The anxiety caused by over-indebtedness inevitably leads to the deterioration of our physical and mental health, and also affects our family and social environment. One of the first symptoms that appear in someone who suffers from stress due to their economic situation is the insomniaand family dynamics are altered.

Once the first signs of financial stress, its “collateral” effects, those linked to the environment, do not take long to become visible. Discussions arise in the family about how to manage the little money that is available. It is also possible that certain sacrifices have to be made, even in terms of food. All this will cause the climate of tension to settle like a black cloud over the entire family.

Also our social network it will quickly become resentful. And it is that, if we cannot keep up with the economic rhythm of our environment, we are cutting off the very social support itself. There may even be people who try to keep up with their friends or relatives, but who, out of shame, do not dare to explain their economic situation to them, so that they will not be able to receive moral support or possible economic support either.

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