Handling Your Credit Card Debt

Date Added: February 11, 2007 04:29:53 PM
Category: Money & Finance: Credit & Debt: Credit Cards
If you don't pay attention, you can run up a staggering amount of credit card debt very quickly. In order to avoid that happening to you, follow these tips that are designed to keep credit card debt under control.

Credit Card Debt Management Tips

The first step to alleviating credit card debt is to stop using your credit cards. Take them out of your purse and wallet and leave them home in a drawer or safe place. Develop a budget based on your income and stick to it.  Cards should only be used in a real emergency.  Also, always make more than the minimum payment on your card.  The minimum payment usually only covers the interest accrued that month so it may be that none of the payment is actually going toward your principal.

If at all possible, transfer your balance to a lower interest rate card.  Many card companies now offer low or even zero percent interest on transferred balances for a specific period of time.  Before you do this, however, make sure you know what the interest rate will go up to after the grace period is over.

If you have equity in your home, it is possible you could take out a home equity loan to consolidate your credit card debt into one monthly payment at a considerably lower interest rate.  Only borrow the least amount of money you can to clear the card and pay attention to the closing costs.  Think carefully before you do this though, since your home is the collateral and you could lose it if you default.

You could contact a free credit-counseling firm.  They will negotiate lower interest rates and length of payments.  They deal with the companies, but you still have to make your payments on time.

How To Use Credit Cards Wisely

Credit cards do make life a little easier as long as you use them responsibly.  Here are some guidelines that should help you use these cards wisely.

A credit card is just like any other loan.  It needs to be paid back.  Don't overspend.

Pay attention to the balance on your card.  Always know just what it is and make sure to stop using your card once it exceeds the amount that you can afford to pay in full at any given time.

Keep your receipts from every transaction and balance them with your monthly statement.  This will help alleviate any charge errors.

Pay your monthly bill on time.  Even if it is just the minimum amount, it is still better than paying late.  Not only will the charge card companies impost an interest penalty, your credit score could suffer also.

Don't take your cards with you when you go shopping. If you are going somewhere where you know you will have a hard time controlling your spending, don't take your card with you.  Only take cash.  It will keep your spending in check.

The moral of this story is obvious, use your cards wisely.  Otherwise you will find yourself in a hole that could take forever to dig yourself out of.

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