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Sarah Leonard

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Beat Debt in a Bad Economy


Debt problems still plague too many Americans as credit card debt continues to remain sharply higher than it was last year, up 5.9 percent over July 2011 levels according to the Federal Reserve. The Fed says that the average household is saddled with $15,587 in credit card debt and faced with unprecedented financial challenges during this extended period of bad economic news.

Effective debt management requires a willingness to change the way money is spent, and an openness to utilize the educational and professional resources that are available. Here are the six tips to building a solid financial plan, whether you have excessive credit card debt or are finding it hard to change your spending habits:

1 – Look under the rocks. This is an essential step, particularly for those struggling with credit card debt. Being open to making tough spending cuts, giving up some luxuries, and changing bad financial decision-making processes are essential.
2 – Change your habits. Learning how to get out of debt means being willing to do things differently. Remember the saying, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got." Don't spend and overspend the way you have in the past, change.
3 – Use financial tools. Websites like InCharge.org are stuffed with educational materials and interactive tools like home budgeting calculators and even financial video games where you can learn while you have fun.
4 – Pay on time. It certainly is advice you hear over and over, but it is true. It is certainly in the top five on the list of ways to build a better financial future. Paying late fees and over-limit charges is unnecessary, and unwise. Pay on time.
5 – Do it today. Our counselors hear from consumers every day who say they got into debt by spending too much today and planning (but never following through) on paying in the future. Create a spending plan and follow it.

Source: www.incharge.org.

 

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