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How to Get Help With Credit Card Debt
If you’re living with excessive amounts of debt, you’re not alone. More than 43 percent of Americans currently owe more than they earn, and with credit card rates ranging anywhere between 10 and 30 percent, it’s no wonder the average person is carrying more than $5,000 in credit card debt.
The Growing Trend of Rising Debt
An Ohio State University Study uncovered a startling trend in credit card debt: the younger you are, the more debt you’re likely to have. According to the study, people born between 1980 and 1984 have nearly $6,000 more credit card debt than their parents and more than $8,100 more than their grandparents. Not only are the younger generations owing more than their grandparents and parents, they are also paying off their loans slower. This suggests that these generations will die still owing money to creditors. That’s a pretty scary thought.
What does this information tell us? Two things:
- Credit card debt is rising quickly.
- More and more people are overspending outside of their earnings, and hefty credit cards are one of the main culprits.
It has become all too easy to find ourselves in the grips of credit card debt. Whether we use credit cards to foster our poor spending habits or we find ourselves in a monetary bind one too many times, the debt created is real and must be handled as quickly and effectively as possible. So how do you find ways to deal with credit cards and find relief? Here are a few tips.
Tips for Dealing with Multiple Credit Cards
Having multiple credit cards isn’t unusual. Most people have several different ones. You might use one credit card for emergency purchases, another for trips to the grocery store and yet another for your everyday purchases. You could even have specific store credit cards that are only used in the store. For example, these cards could be for an electronic store or clothing store.
With each new account, however, it becomes more and more difficult to effectively track and manage your bills. Even with apps that combine all of your cards in one helpful location, the process of choosing which one to pay off first can be tricky. That’s why we’ve come up with a 3-step plan to help you determine which cards to focus on first and help you with your credit card debt.
1. Evaluate Your Interest Rates
If you’ve become burdened by your numerous credit cards and their resulting debts, don’t panic. With most credit card interest rates between 18 and 30 percent, it’s no wonder so many people find themselves overwhelmed with credit card debt. Instead of panicking at the sight of those dreaded bills, start by looking at the interest rates of each of your credit cards. Since high-interest balances grow at a faster rate than low-interest balances, it’s usually a good idea to pay the high-interest ones off first, even if the higher interest cards have less on them than the lower interest ones. However, cards that have begun to accumulate penalty interest require particularly urgent action and should take priority over all others.
2. Look at Your Balances
If your interest rates are more or less the same, then another good rule of thumb may be to pay off the cards with larger balances before moving onto cards with more manageable debts. If you can devote a little more money each month to your cards with higher balances, you’ll help get your big debts out of the way first and make way for the smaller cards. Remember that study we mentioned before? It also states that increasing the minimum monthly payment “spurs borrowers to not only meet the minimum, but to pay off substantially more, possibly eliminating their debt years earlier.” That’s a pretty good initiative to pay a little more each month.
However, make an effort not to skip paying one card for another. Instead, aim to allocate more of your monthly spending to paying off the ones with higher interest rates. After all, large balances accumulate more interest than small balances.
3. Get Help from a Credit Counselor
Even with all of the helpful technology available, keeping on top of your debts can be hard. But you don’t have to tackle your credit card bills on your own. A credit counseling service, like us, can help you manage your debts and begin paying down your obligations in a controlled manner through a debt management plan. Over time, you’ll be able to open up some breathing room in your budget and move toward a more financially secure future. These services also help to teach you healthy spending habits so you can avoid being in similar situations in the future.
Breaking the Cycle
A whopping 40 percent of families owe more than they earn, which means more is going out than coming in. Not only are consumers taking on more debt, they’re taking longer to pay it off. With interest rates at an all-time high, taking longer to pay off your debt is simply adding to the problem.
The longer you spend in debt, the more you pay in interest, and the more you pay in interest, the more debt you have. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one that can only be broken with hard work, dedication and a sincere desire to get out of debt. But you don’t have to face this process alone. There are credit counselors who will help you get out of credit card debt and move forward with healthier spending habits.
Make a Budget, Get Out of Debt
In addition to helping you tackle your debt, our credit counseling program also provides a variety of effective budget management tools, including credit management tips, household budgeting advice and other monetary management strategies to help you budget successfully. They will work with you to find the best possible solution for your situation and tailor a strategy for your financial future.
If you’re struggling with credit card debt, contact one of our certified credit counselors today, or fill out the form above to see how we can help you get out of debt.