For many people, the months following the holiday season are stressful. In order to buy gifts for everyone, they relied on their credit cards and now find they have enormous sums of debt and no way to pay it off. Unfortunately, this is a common practice for many Americans. Thankfully, there are ways to pay down debt and prevent the cycle from repeating.
Credit Card Debt
Paying off debt becomes difficult when it comes from multiple sources. You use three or four credit cards until they have no available credit. Now, when the bills come in, the combined minimum payment required is more than you can afford. One way to avoid falling behind with creditors is to apply for a consolidation loan through a lender like Snowbird Partners. This will allow you to make one lower monthly payment with a lower interest rate.
Other Methods for Reducing Credit Card Debt
Applying for a credit card that allows you to transfer balances from other cards, interest-free, is another option for reducing credit card debt. Without added interest, you can pay the balance off more quickly. If you have equity in your home, you can apply for a home equity loan or refinance and use the money to pay off the credit card debt completely. Some people with a 401k borrow from their retirement. The advantage of using a 401k is that repayment of the loan goes back to you with interest added.
Avoiding Credit Card Debt
Having too much debt can affect your quality of life. You receive your paycheck and have to send it all out. Thankfully, you can prevent credit card debt in the future. Stop using cards as cash. Credit cards are not something that you should rely on as an additional source of income. People that use them correctly enjoy the perks. Some credit card companies offer rewards such as airline miles you can save up to travel to places for free. Others give you cashback on purchases. If you use them for convenience and pay off the bills each month, instead of out of necessity, you’ll never pay additional fees.
Many people who accumulate sizable sums of debt don’t have a household budget in place. They basically wing it regarding their finances. Unfortunately, without the knowledge of what you’re actually spending and what you spend your money on, you won’t be able to eliminate excessive debt. A budget is used to identify not only the amount of your debt but also the source. With that information, you can take steps to correct poor spending habits and set short-term and long-term financial goals.
Refrain From Reckless Spending
Everybody wants things. The difference between good and poor money management is how you gain these items. A person who knows how to manage money only purchases the things they want (as opposed to what they need) when the money is in hand. A person who mismanages their money buys the item without considering the financial consequences. In order to avoid piles of debt in the future, you must gain control over reckless spending. Instead, adopt a new set of rules. If there’s something you really want, set money aside weekly and then pay for it in full. You can use a credit card initially for the purchase if they offer rewards and then pay the bill in full or pay for it using cash. You’ll learn to save money, won’t add additional debt, and you won’t pay a penny more than what the item costs.
Why You Need an Emergency Fund
Putting money away for a rainy day is practical and necessary. If you have a savings account for unexpected expenses, needing a home or auto repair isn’t a problem. You have the funds set aside, eliminating the need to touch your checking account, so you won’t add to your debt and you won’t use bill money.
Using credit cards wisely will allow you to reduce your debt and keep more of your hard-earned money.