Simple Ways to Pay down that Debt

In previous years when the economy showed signs of growth and strength, people purchased more, using both cash and credit to buy bigger homes, bigger cars, longer vacations – pretty much anything and everything they wanted. They were confident that that their wages would continue to grow along with the company they worked for, and in the ultimate strength of the dollar in the global market. As long as the monthly payments were being met, everything was fine.

However, the last few years have seen a dramatic reversal of this "buy now, pay later" attitude. Rising prices across the board and stagnant wages, along with failing businesses and a falling dollar, have taken a huge bite out of the economy and people's overall confidence that they'll continue to be able to pay the bills. As such, the debt that has been accumulated has become a crushing burden for many individuals and families. If you're having trouble bearing up under your debt, the simple answer is to eliminate it. But how? Here are a few basic strategies that will help you to get started:

  • If you have several credit cards, first make a quality decision to stop using them. You can't pay off debt if you continue to add new debt to it. Put all of your cards away and carry only one – and use that one only for emergencies. (If you choose to cancel your cards, cancel all except the one that you've had for the longest amount of time. This will help protect your credit score.) From now on, make all of your purchases with cash. Moreover, when you go shopping, leave your card at home to remove any temptation of using it.
  • Use the Debt Snowball strategy to pay down your debt. That's where you pay off your highest-interest debt by making more-than-minimum monthly payments to it, while making minimum-only payments on your other debts. Then, when that first account is paid off, take the monthly amount that you used to pay it off and apply it to your second-highest-interest debt (in addition to its minimum monthly amount), and so on. Additionally, contact your credit-card issuers and ask that they lower your interest rate. They'll either say "yes" or "no;" but if your payment history is good, you may very well get an affirmative answer, which will only help to reduce your debt even quicker.
  • Take some time to study your financial picture, then put together a reasonable and realistic budget, and then stay with it. Studies show that over half of all families develop a budget, but far fewer actually follow through with implementation of it. If you need to adjust your budget, that's okay – it may take several months before you get it 'fine-tuned' to the point that it works for your household. But stick with it anyway; it'll be well worth the effort.
  • If, after careful consideration, you just can't stretch the money you have into the money you need, it may be necessary to bit the bullet and get a second job. Other options might be to sell some things that you no longer need on eBay, or find a way to turn that hobby of yours into a second stream of income. Get creative; there are far more possibilities available than you might think.

Empower yourself with Debt-free living. Reduce your credit card debt by up to 50%.

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