“How to eliminate your credit card debt”, “How to pay off credit card faster” etc, are the topics of discussion in most of the talk show and forums in the recent days. According to the statistics from Moneyzine.com, the average credit card debt per household is $5100 and expected to rise to $6500 by the end of 2011. So, it is vital to talk about how to manage credit card debt and keep finance under control.
A huge portion of the population carries a balance on credit cards from month to month. According to a survey conducted by Federal Reserve, total credit card debt on store or gas credit cards is about $105 billion. Although debt can be overwhelming, it is possible to lower your balances and become debt free.
Here are few tips on how to manage credit card debt and pay off your debt;
1) Budgeting: Know what comes in and what goes out. Understanding personal financial situation is a group effort. Get the family together and spend an evening or so making a budget. Budgeting can be done on a monthly or a yearly basis. Key in all your planned expenditure on a spreadsheet and the actual income that everyone brings in. Talley the balance to make sure the total expenditure doesn’t exceed the total household income. If the expenses are more, then you have to come up with a plan, as a family, to cut down the unwanted expenditures. Mymoney.gov offers different budgeting tools to help consumers track their financial well being.
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics provides Consumer Expenditure Survey to get an overview of the spending habit of other families within the same income brackets.
2) Make Cash Purchase: Stop using credit cards for day to day purchases. The simplest advantage to paying with cash is the limitation it puts on what you buy. Without a buy-now-pay-later mentality associated with credit cards, you will purchase only items that are affordable and covered by the cash you have on hand.
3) Pay on time: Paying your bills on time is one of the crucial things you can do to avoid damaging your credit. Even if it is just the minimum payment, try to pay it off before the due date. This will be possible only if you have few credit cards. A large number of credit cards can cause a difficult situation to manage as your credit debt grows. The more cards you have, the more likely it is that you will simply miss seeing a bill and making a payment. Also, it is always better to pay the full balance rather than aiming for the minimum payment
4) Pay off high interest credit cards: Try to pay off fully the balance on high interest credit cards. Interest on the unpaid balance keeps growing leading to an impossible situation to pay it off. Try to borrow enough money on low interest credit cards to pay off the debt on all other high interest credit cards.