Sometimes bills can get away from you, and with so many people without jobs it often just gets difficult to live on the money that you have in your pocket. Many people turn to credit cards in order to survive, which in turn allows every day spending to get out of control, hence the need to consolidate credit card debt. It’s a cycle that’s often repeated in many American households today.
There are ways of consolidating credit cards, however, that will allow you to save money in the long run while still maintaining a credit score that you can live with.
Balance transfers are the most common way to consolidate credit card debt. By transferring as much of your balance as you can onto the credit card with the lowest interest rate, you are not only saving money on interest, but you are consolidating multiple payments into one that can handle easier.
In some cases this might mean having to open another card, but it still saves money that can be put to better use somewhere else. Personal finance writer LaToya Irby, however, warned that “before you consolidate debt with a balance transfer, make sure you’ll actually be saving money. It’s not worth it to consolidate debt and end up paying more.”
Use Your Savings
Even though you may be saving for a special vacation or even a child’s college fund, it is sometimes easier to make a one-time payment of your credit card debt then to continue paying indefinitely. Although you are receiving interest on the money in your savings account, you are likely paying out more in the interest on the credit cards. Once the cards are paid off, you can put all of your savings back with the money you would otherwise be paying to credit card companies.
The easiest way to get rid of credit card debt is by preventing the problem. Once you have lowered your bills, you should consider whether or not you want the cards to remain open. Michal Cheney at My Money Blog says it may not be easy but it’s important, “the hardest part of getting out of credit card debt is avoiding new debt. Once you are in debt, avoiding more debt is critical.”
Although you may want to keep a couple for emergencies, you must realize that getting rid of the temptation can also get rid of the problem that got you here in the first place.
Credit cards are a common fall back for many families that are struggling. Regardless of the reason you got in the rut, it is a hole that is one of the most difficult to get out of. The most important thing to keep in mind is strategy.
Consolidate credit card payments whenever possible. Look over all of the credit cards that you have, find the ones with the lowest interest rates, and get rid of the rest. Train yourself to save those cards for emergencies, and you are on your way to being in better control of your finances.