It's easier than ever to put just about any expense on your credit card. You can pay your health insurance premium, utility bills and more with your cards. If you're able to pay off your credit card balance every month and get some free miles on your favorite airline in the process, this may be a wise move. However, for too many people, more places to use their credit card simply means more credit card debt.
In a recent survey by CNBC and Morning Consult, though, less than a quarter (23%) of respondents said that the majority of their credit card debt was caused by spending on necessities (like utilities and groceries). Just 12% reported that medical bills (which are often a necessity as well) were the main cause of that debt.
Almost a third (32%) of the people surveyed earlier this year said that their credit card debt resulted from discretionary spending. That was a larger percentage than any other category.
There's no question that consumer debt as a whole and credit card debt, in particular, are growing in this country. In fact, credit card balances in the first quarter of this year were $33 billion higher than the same period in 2018.
Over half of people (55%) with at least one credit card reported having credit card debt. Of course, some people have the resources to pay it off more easily than others. It's up to each individual to determine whether their credit card debt has gotten out of control.
If you're relying on your credit cards to cover basic living expenses and are unable to pay off those cards each month without undermining your overall financial situation, it's probably time to consider seeking some type of debt relief -- particularly if you're starting to be besieged by collectors. An experienced attorney can advise you of the best options based on your individual situation.