Featured News 2012 Control your Personal Debt with These Helpful Tips

Control your Personal Debt with These Helpful Tips

The average credit card debt in an American household is $15,956. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says that 609.8 million creditors are held by U.S. consumers, and the majority of them are not paid off at the end of the month as they should be. In total, U.S. consumers owe $2.5 trillion in consumer debt. 392 million Americans have a Visa debit card, and 269 million have a Visa credit card. 176 million people own a MasterCard credit card, and 50.6 million Americans have an American Express card in their wallet. While people use credit cards liberally, they aren’t always the best at managing the charges on these cards. It’s easy to think that your little piece of plastic can get you all the items you want with a simple swipe, but there is money involved.

For some spenders, the wisest way to avoid debt is to only use cash when shopping. This way, they can physically see their amount of money diminishing as they hand it to the cashier. Yet this isn’t always convenient, and having your account on a plastic card can be helpful when it’s time for a large purchase. They key to managing your personal credit card debt is being wise, careful, and calculating. The more debt you rack up on your credit card, the higher your interest may rise. Most interest rates are in the mid to high teens at any given time, which means that you are losing money all the time that you don’t pay back your debt.

It’s important to remember that not all debt is bad. For example, if you have had to borrow money for a down payment on a home, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can also borrow for college and eventually pay back your student loans without having to fear that you are digging yourself into a dangerous pit. The only time that debt is bad is when it is unmanageable and out of control. You shouldn’t use your credit card to pay for things that you consume fast, like food or a vacation. This is especially true if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off the bill within the next few months. Use cash instead for these purchases in order to eliminate impulse buying and stay to your strict budget.

According to CNN Money, it is important that you get a handle on your spending if you want to be a careful consumer. Write down your purchases so that you know exactly what finances went where. Those who don’t calculate their purchases may spend hundreds of dollars on frivolous items without any idea what they have been doing. Also, you should pay off your highest rate debts as soon as possible. This means that you need to pay the balances of loans or credit cards that charge the most interest while you pay the minimum on your other debt. This way, you can work your way down the line, eliminating your most expensive debt the fastest.

Another warning is to avoid falling into the minimum trap. It’s easy to think that you can pay the minimum balance on your items and avoid having to every pay the actual expense. Unfortunately, you will only continue to amass debt if you continue to live this way. Also, be careful when you turn to borrow money. Choose avenues that are easy to pay back. Don’t put your home or your 401(k) on the line if you can avoid doing so. If you have other debt, you may want to put paying off your mortgage on the backburner until you get your consumer costs down. If you feel that you are in a tight spot, get financial help right away. By being a wise steward of your finances, you will be able to spend wisely and possibly repay debt without having to declare bankruptcy.

Related News:

Should You Avoid Credit Cards After Bankruptcy?

If you're like a lot of people, you may owe thousands in credit card debt. Perhaps you lost your job and had no choice but to take out cash advances to pay for gas and other basic necessities, or ...
Read More »

Filing Bankruptcy without Your Spouse

Filing for bankruptcy while you are married, will likely affect your spouse's credit no matter what. The questions are how will it specifically affect debt and your property if you are married and ...
Read More »

How Can Filing For Bankruptcy Benefit Me?

If you are struggling to make ends meet financially, the next step for you to take may be to file for bankruptcy. Due to the negative way many people view bankruptcy, it is not uncommon for an ...
Read More »