Many people these days are struggling with debt that they cannot afford. There are a number of programs advertised on the radio, on television, and on the internet that claim that they can reduce your debt so you can pay it off at pennies on the dollar. While there are debt consolidation plans that sometimes result in negotiated lower interest rates and balances available, sometimes a person comes out of it in better financial condition if they bear down and work on a plan to get out of debt the old fashioned way. Most people who are experiencing debt problems got themselves into that situation by purchasing things they could not afford. Getting out of debt that has accumulated this way, though possibly painful, is as simple as reversing the process and paying the bills that are in need of attention. This is especially true of credit card debt.
Step #1 – Learn How To Use Your Credit Cards Differently
Many programs recommend that people experiencing excessive credit card debt cut up their credit cards. While for some this may be a much needed thing, for many it may just be a matter of learning how to use their credit cards differently. Using a predefined amount of cash as weekly money for incidental and small purchases is a great way to get out of the habit of charging everything on credit cards. One of the worst things that people can do, especially if they do not pay their credit card balances off at the end of every month, is to charge things like lunch out and snacks on their credit cards. These are some of the last things that people should be paying interest on. A great way to make sure that necessities can be purchased even if that predefined amount of cash runs out is to use a debit card as the backup payment plan. As long as their is money in the account, this makes it easy to buy those things that were not budgeted for but still need to be purchased. Though they should be using them much less or not at all, people trying to get out of credit card debt should not immediately close their accounts. They should take the opportunity to use this time as a way to rebuild their credit by having available credit at their disposal but not using it.
Step #2 – Don’t Be Afraid To Contact A Credit Card Company To Discuss Interest Rates
When credit card debt becomes a problem, many people hide from the problem by not opening their mail and not answering the phone. This isn’t the way to confront the problem and the people that do this know that. There is a lot of competition in the credit card market and quite often people find themselves getting a number of offers regarding a new credit card that they can transfer their balance to and get no interest charged for a year. Depending on the level of credit in use and the current interest rate, this could be a good option for a number of people. Another possible strategy for someone who wants to pay their credit card debt off is to attempt to call the credit card company directly and mention to them that they are consdering transfering their balance to another credit card company because of a lower interest rate. if they are able to, they will often match or sometimes even beat that rate just to keep the original account holder as a customer.
Step #3 – Pay Off That Debt
Now that the use of the credit cards has been altered so that debt will not continue to be accumulated, and the interest rates have been lowered as much as possible for the time being, it is time to develop and implement a strategy for paying off the debt. The first credit cards that should be focused on are the ones with either balances low enough that they can be paid off in a month or two, or the accounts that have the highest interest rates. These accounts should get the bulk of any money that is being used to pay off the debt while leaving enough that all other credit cards can at least receive their minimum payments. It is very important that every card receives some sort of payment, otherwise the non-payment fees and over limit charges will run the risk of adding up to more than the amount that is being paid down on the other cards. Once the credit card with the highest interest rate is completely paid off, then the card with the next highest interest rate should be focused on. This strategy then can continue until all of the cards have been paid off.
There are often things that can be done to make getting out of debt easier and faster, but many don’t work and have been proven to sometimes affect a person’s credit rating negatively. When dealing with something as important as their credit rating and personal finances, people should not easily turn to risky measures, they should always investigate any financial related endeavor fully. Sometimes though, the best option is to just bear down and focus on paying that credit card debt off as quickly as possible, but also doing it in an intelligent and efficient manner that will benefit their personal finance situation in the long run.