Everybody seems to use credit cards these days – from the smallest purchase of gas to the largest purchase of appliances, college tuition or even cars, depending on your credit card limit.  However, some people have gotten into so much credit card debt that it has brought them down, and gotten them into financial trouble.

 

Having credit cards can be especially difficult when you're dealing with bipolar disorder.  It just becomes too easy to make that impulsive purchase when you have a credit card at the ready.  It's easy to forget that credit card statement that will inevitably come next month where you will have to pay for this purchase.  You may not be thinking about that at this time – you just want what you want, giving in to your impulse to buy it.

 

After months or even years of this type of behavior, however, you may find yourself with mounds of credit card debt.  You may even have bill collectors sending you letters in the mail or even calling you, and you may feel as if your back is up against the wall, not knowing what to do.

 

Many people with bipolar disorder find themselves in this position.

 

The best advice I can give you is first, to get rid of all your credit cards but one.  Why keep one?  Well, you still need to keep one in case of an emergency, or in case you need to make a hotel or airline reservation, or need to rent a car.

 

Cut up all other credit cards and cancel them.  This will take away all temptation to use them in the midst of a bipolar manic episode.  If you don't have them, then you cannot use them!

 

Then take the one emergency credit card you have left and hide it and/or keep it in a safe place without easy access.  DO NOT keep it in your wallet or purse – the temptation will be too great to use it when that impulse strikes, defeating the purpose of only using it in case of an emergency.  You might want to keep it in a safety deposit box, but keep in mind that you would only have access to it during banking hours.

 

Now that you have your credit cards taken care of, it's time to work on that credit card debt. 

 

Some people have found success using debt consolidation services.  These organizations help you to take your unsecured debt from all your credit cards and turn it into one smaller monthly payment.  You might even be able to reduce your current interest rate.

 

The main thing is that once you have reduced your credit card debt, you do not turn around and make the same mistakes again.  Stick to a budget, and only use your credit card for emergencies.