People who struggle with credit card debt understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A crucial first step is for individuals to carefully examine their own situation in an effort to better understand the myriad options available to them.
Here are some steps to follow to better understand your debt and begin working toward a stable financial future.
1. How much debt do you have?
To start with, it’s time to look at how much debt you have. Carefully examine each card, making notes for debt, credit limit, annual percentage rates and monthly minimum payments for each account. It’s also a good idea to note which cards have monthly or annual fees.
2. Can you put more money down than the minimum payment?
The next thing to think about is how much money you can spend on your debt each month and if it can be increased for a period of time. If the monthly minimum payments are $500 and you have $550 to spend, make sure you’re putting that extra $50 on one of those cards, whether it’s the highest debt or the one with the smallest balance.
3. What are your options for bringing in more income?
To help you pay off debt faster, it’s time to bring in some more income. You may be able to find a weekend job, do odd jobs for neighbors or sell items online. Whatever extra income you bring in can be put onto credit debt, reducing what you owe overall.
4. Have you missed payments?
Wading through credit card debt is bad, but you will start experiencing damage to your overall credit rating if you begin missing payments. If you are in danger of not being able to make your minimum monthly payments – it might be wise to seriously consider bankruptcy. Work with a skilled attorney to determine if Chapter 7 (debt elimination) or Chapter 13 (debt consolidation) is best for your unique financial situation.