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Acknowledgements. About the author. Introduction. Part I Addicted to credit. 1 Isn't credit card debt just something we learn to live with? 2 Why put extra cash towards my debt when it doesn't make much difference? 3 There's no way I'm addicted to credit am I? 4 Why do I feel like someone else is controlling my spending? 5 It's my money to spend What's the big deal? Part II Living with credit cards. 6 How do I live without a credit card when the world is set up that way? 7 I won't give up my cards - what else have you got? 8 How will I operate without two cards - one to pay off the other? 9 It's okay to use cash advances to get me to payday, isn't it? Part III Start controlling your debt. 10 My interest charges aren't that high, so why worry? 11 Does it matter if I don't know my interest rate? 12 If I keep paying the minimum repayments, I'll pay off my card won't I? 13 Does anyone care if I only make the minimum repayment? 14 Are all credit cards the same? 15 Why should I open my bills if I pay the same amount each month? 16 The bank wouldn't offer me a limit increase if I couldn't afford it, right? 17 Are interest charges the only fees? 18 How can I make interest-free periods work for me? Part IV Slashing your credit card debt: the plan. 19 My debt is only $1000 so I can pay it off anytime Why do I need a plan? 20 I have an average debt of $3000 That's not a big deal, is it? 21 My debt is just too big Is this really possible? 23 How can I find extra cash, fast? 24 Where do I start when I've got other debts as well? 25 Who can I turn to for help? Part V It doesn't end with paying off your debt. 26 How can I make a credit card work for me? 27 How do I keep my card details safe? 28 Is a chip and PIN card more secure than signing? 29 Is it really safe to use my card online? 30 Will I be liable if someone else uses my card? 31 Do credit cards have benefits other than just credit? 32 I disagree with my bank over my credit card What can I do? 33 What should I do if I'm slipping back into the red? Glossary. Appendix A: Quiz: what's your problem? Appendix B: Resources. Index.
Allison Tait specialises in writing about personal finance issues for ninemsn Money and MSN NZ Money. She has more than 20 years experience as a journalist across a wide range of publications, including The Sydney Morning Herald, Madison and House & Garden magazine.