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Paying off Your Credit Cards

By Nikki Willhite

Credit Cards can be a great convenience if not misused. Americans have a love of plastic. I get into a lot of trouble when I say that I like credit cards. Used wisely, they can make life easier and even be money-makers, with rewards like cash back or air miles.

You have to have a great deal of self-discipline to use your credit cards wisely. There are just too many appealing things to buy, and too many ways that we are enticed to buy them.

There are no "stop signs" or warning about what can happen if you misuse your credit.

Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we run up credit card debt. Unexpected auto repairs, accidents, medical bills, broken appliances, family emergencies, and many other things can cause us to have to spend money that use just don't have.

When you acquire a lot of debt, you have a major challenge getting rid of it. If you are paying more than 6 percent of your net income to pay your credit card each month, you are in trouble.

My heart goes out to those who have gotten in trouble and are trying so hard to fix their finances. In additional to the above problems, so people over spend because of emotional problems. Whatever the reason, we need to be supportive of each other.

There is not a huge support group for living frugally. There are websites and ezines, and an occasional article in a major publication, but not much else.

That is a shame, because financial problems can bring so much misery into our lives. It helps to know you are not alone.

I encourage anyone that is having difficulty with money to subscribe to as many ezines on thrift and frugality as they can to help them with their problems.

There are many ways to save money to help pay off debt. Some are easy, and some are a lot harder. Some may even seem laughable - but every bit of advice should be measured against your circumstances to see if it will help.

For those struggling with credit card debt, here is some basic information that is meant to be useful in approaching how to go about getting out of debt.

1.The first thing that is essential to realize it that if you only pay the minimum amount due on your statement each month, you will never pay off that card. Ignore the number so prominently placed on the top of your bill.

2.Examine your credit card statement and know exactly what interest rate you are paying. If your credit score is still high, you may be able to transfer your balance to a lower interest credit card. If you are able to transfer the balance to a credit card that has no interest for a year, remember that you absolutely must not put anything else on that particular card.

3. If you have a savings account, use as much of it as you can to pay off your charge card. It makes no sense to save money at an extremely low interest rate, when you are paying double digit finance charges

4. Do not use a Home equity loan to pay off your credit cards. You will end up charging your cards up again, and then by faced with even higher bills. Your also put your home at risk.

When you are absolutely positive and have demonstrated the ability to control your money over a period of many months, then you can consider doing it.

5. There are two basic ways to go about paying down your cards. The first one is make minimum payments on every card except the one that has the highest interest rate. Get rid of that one first. Then do the same thing with the next card with the highest interest rate.

The other way is to first pay off the card with the smallest balance. When that card is paid off, take the money you were paying for that card and put it on the next lowest balance card and so forth. One of the advantages of this route, is that it gives you a greater sense of accomplishment if you have a lot of credit cards.

Whatever you decide- choose your method and get to work.

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Category:  Money

Related Links | BudgetingCreditDebt |
| Identity Theft
| Investing | Retirement |

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