The end of the month is fast approaching and, sooner than later, it will be time to pay your bills again. Sigh.
The average credit card holder has 3.5 cards, with the average debt per household reaching over $15,000. Undeniably, it may be easier to build up debt than it is to pay it off, but eliminating your balance is possible.
BET.com breaks down some tips from Key Bank on where to start:
Be Real With Yourself
It is very important to prioritize your bills so that you know exactly how much you owe and who your most important creditors are. Sit down and organize your bills to clarify who you owe and how much you owe. If you aren’t real with yourself, then it’s easy to spend more money than is affordable and fall deeper into the hole of debt.
Put It on Paper
Make a plan to attack your debt by listing everything you owe and the corresponding interest rates. Pay the largest, most significant debt first. Then, pay off the debt that carries the highest interest rate, which is also, usually, the debt with double-digit interest rates.
Cut Down on The Cards
Keep only one or two credit cards. The more cards you carry, the more confusing it can be to remember which credit card you used. Also, the less cards you carry, the less you may be tempted to borrow and increase your debt.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
Every month you should try to pay off as much as you can. Always pay more than your minimum, even if it is a small amount. This can help you pay off your debt faster and you are helping to pay off your interest, as well.
Don’t Try to Keep Up With the Joneses
Cut out luxuries and extra items that you can live without when trying to eliminate debt. Remind yourself of all of your monthly obligations, such as the mortgage or rent, food, health care and transportation expenses, and hopefully, by focusing on reducing the stressfulness of debt, the temptation to overspend will pass.
Use Your Network
If you absolutely need to borrow money, try borrowing from family and friends that you trust and who trust you. See if they would be willing to let you borrow the funds at a lower interest rate than credit card companies. If you choose this option, however, make sure that you are able, and that you will make your payments on time until your debt is gone. Being sued for money you owe is neither fun nor free.
There is a way to dig yourself out of the hole of debt, and it begins with effort and discipline.
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(Photo: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT/Landov)