It’s the main event that you didn’t want to happen, but now it’s time to face the consequences. In this corner, it’s the American consumer who has tallied a record credit card debt of more than $1 trillion. His opponent for the match, of course, is the heavyweight, burdensome and continuously growing credit card debt.
Americans, it’s time to wake up and grapple with credit card debt, brought to you by your impulsive spending habits, the convenience of credit cards, and some of the highest interest rates when it comes to borrowing. The debt has placed such a burden on you that it’s affected your happiness, and, in some cases, even your health.
Roughly 43 percent of credit card holders maintain a balance each month. The average American holds three credit cards with a balance of nearly $6,400, and the average household pays $904 in credit card interest each year. Those are a lot of numbers that could be better managed if consumers weren’t so reliant on credit cards.
Quick tips on dealing with credit card debt
No one wants to drown in a sea of debt, so here are some ways to flex your muscles and dive into paying off those credit cards:
- Review your spending habits and create a budget. You will gain a better sense as to where your money goes.
- Determine how much you owe on your credit cards along with the interest rates by reviewing monthly statements.
- Pay more than the minimum each month.
- Automate your payments. It saves time to have the money taken straight from your bank account.
- Consider the “snowball approach” toward paying off debt by focusing on the cards with the smallest balance until you are gradually making bigger payments each time.
- Consider the “avalanche approach” in which you pay off the cards with the highest interest rate first. This can be a quicker way and save more money compared with the snowball approach.
- Consider consolidating all of your credit cards into one account.
- Negotiate with creditors for smaller monthly minimum payments and a lower interest rate.
- Stop using your credit cards and rely exclusively on cash.
Fight the good fight against credit card debt and then you just may break the cycle. Your financial health and happiness are on the line.