Overcoming credit card debt: Keep it simple

Overcoming credit card debt: Keep it simple

You’ve always been good about maintaining your debt level. You wanted to make sure you had enough rotating debts to improve your credit score, and you always paid on time.

That was all before you suddenly lost your job. Now, you’ve found yourself in a position where you’re struggling to make ends meet, let alone being able to pay down your debt. How can you eliminate this debt? Here are a few options.

1. Create an action plan

To start with, create an action plan. Sit down and work out exactly what you owe. Write down the due dates, interest rates and minimum payments for your debts. Seeing this in front of you is the first step to seeing what you can pay and when each bill is due.

2. Target a single debt

Next, you will want to target a single debt. You might choose the debt with the highest interest rate, the highest monthly payment or the highest balance, for example. Whatever debt you choose, this is the one you should be paying off the fastest. Make larger payments than the minimum on this debt, even if you can only meet the minimums on others.

3. Negotiate

It’s fine to call your credit card provider and tell them you’re in a difficult financial position. If you bought insurance on the credit card, certain events, like the loss of a job, may trigger a complete payoff of the card, so you don’t have to spend a penny. You can also call and ask about getting a reduced interest rate or deferring payments for a month or two while you get back on your feet. Most creditors appreciate the call and are happy to try to help.

4. Consider bankruptcy

Bankruptcy isn’t the first option to consider, but it is there for those who can’t get control of their debt through other means. Credit cards can typically be discharged through bankruptcy, as they are usually unsecured debts. There are several kinds of bankruptcy to choose from including liquidation bankruptcy (Chapter 7) and repayment bankruptcy (Chapter 13). The right one for you depends on your situation and if you are still bringing in an income.

These are four things that could help eliminate your credit card debt. Although it may seem overwhelming now, there are a number of ways to tackle this debt and to reduce or eliminate it, giving you better financial freedom.

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