Are you drowning in debt? Want to swim out of it this year?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. And there’s help on the way.
Better Business Bureau and ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions are encouraging consumers to be “calculated budgeters” as they work to get out of debt.
Here are five tips that can help you get spending and debt under control in the new year:
- Set up a household budget to guide your spending patterns. Adjust expenses to find extra money to pay down credit card and other revolving debt. Even $50 a month will help.
- Choose a method. Debt management experts advise either paying off higher-interest balances first (this is the ladder method of debt repayment) or paying off smaller balances first (called the snowball method, because you build momentum). Either way, you’ll be moving in the right direction.
- Ask for lower rates. Most credit card companies will lower interest rates when asked, especially if you mention a “hardship plan.” Lower rates mean more of your payments go toward principal instead of interest.
- Send extra payments. Make at least the minimum payment each month on every account. If you want to pay more, send that extra amount to the chosen payoff account. As soon as that debt is paid off, put its payment and the extra toward the next account on your target list.
- Stick to the plan. It can be tempting to use credit cards again once the balances are lowered, but that will only make it harder to get out of debt, and the process may take much longer. Resist the temptation and keep your eyes on your long-term goal.
To get started, check out this Budget Calculator from Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions.