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Credit card debt is at a record; how to avoid plastic regret

One way to cut credit card debt is

One way to cut credit card debt is to forgo the habit of swiping to pay for purchases -- instead, going cash-only can help curb spendthrift ways. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Kenishirotie

Americans are backsliding on debt.

Credit card debt hit a record $1.02 trillion in June, according to the Federal Reserve. It was some 10 years ago that Americans hit their last record, according to

Apparently a decade isn’t long enough to completely break a habit.

So, what has folks whipping out their cards? A survey of 2,245 people by Pureprofile for found that 61.8 percent of Americans have regrets about getting into debt for shopping, education, car purchases, vacations and home purchase or improvement.

There’s no sense beating yourself up. Instead, get back on track.

  • Go cash only for a month

“The convenience of the swipe and sign, rather than carrying and counting out cash, has further fostered our reliance on plastic,” says Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate for “But paying for almost everything by card makes it easier to ignore or not see when we’ve gone over budget. Getting back into the habit of purchasing in cash will place clearer value on our purchases while loosening our reliance on our cards.”

  • Come up with alternatives

“Open a high-interest savings account. You can transfer funds from these accounts to your checking account in three days or less. Get a salary advance from your employer. Many companies allow employees to get salary advances at low interest rates,” says James Nowlin, author of “The Purposeful Millionaire: 52 Rules for Creating a Life of Wealth and Happiness.”

  • Join the side-gig economy

Says Kimberly Palmer, a credit card expert with, “Explore a side-gig or way to earn money outside your normal income.”

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