Got credit card debt? How to Dig Yourself Out of the Hole

Credit card debt can hurt your personal finance badly, making it hard to get ahead. Minimum payments alone can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. It is important to avoid credit card debt in the first place, if you are already in debt, it is important to get out now. There are a few simple things you can do to ease the financial burden and be on solid ground again.

Stop

Before you can fix any problem, you need to get at the root of it. Stop spending more than you make, if needed, stop using credit cards. You can use just cash, or debit cards, to help you from overspending. No matter how hard you work, if you do not get the root of the problem you will continue the vicious cycle.

Garage Sale

Doing a quick garage sale can net a thousand dollars or more in a weekend if you have enough stuff. This can go directly to the debt, and knock out a small portion of it without even trying. Not only that, but it will clean up the house, and enable you to see what you wasted money on.

Balance Transfer

Many credit card companies offer the ability to transfer higher balances to zero percent cards. The transfer lasts from 6 months to a couple years at most, there is usually a few associated to start the transfer. But over time this can save hundreds, if not thousands in interest rate fees. This will only work if you are disciplined and pay the card off while not running up more debt.

Increase That Income

Get a part time job, or put more hours in at work. If you can increase your income, even a few hundred dollars a month, this will help tremendously. Put all of the extra money straight into the credit card debt to really knock it out quicker. Even waiting tables at night, or babysitting on weekends will go a long way.

Smart Math

Many people elect to pay the lowest balances first, to feel good about paying them off. Instead, it would be best to pay the highest interest rate card first, and work your way down. Mathematically this is the prudent option and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Ask

Call the credit card companies, many of them will lower the interest rate. Be persistent, tell them your story and that you want to do the right thing and pay them off. If you can get the rate lowered even from 20 to 15 percent, it will save a lot of money in the long run. Not all companies will do this, but if you get a nice customer service representative, they can and will do this.

In the end, paying off credit card debt can be a long tedious process. The most important thing is to avoid going deeper into debt, and to be persistent in the payoff. It should almost be a domino effect as you pay off more cards because you will have more and more free cash as more cards get paid off. It is important to not fear credit cards once they are paid off. They still offer a lot of benefits and can help you in a bad situation such as a mechanical problem with your car. Used responsibly they are a great financial tool.

Vanessa Charles writes about finance, self help & her flower delivery service.

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