Conquer Credit Cards.

first_imgIf you and your credit cards went a little overboard in thespirit of holiday giving, now is the time to buckle down and payoff those debts before the interest has you feeling like the Grinch.Stop Using Credit Cards”If you want to get out of debt, the first thing you haveto do is stop using credit,” said Michael Rupured, an ExtensionService financial management specialist with the University ofGeorgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.”If you must,” he said, “keep one card for traveland emergencies. But leave the card at home in a safe place untilyou need it.”Cut up all your other credit cards, he said. And close outthe accounts.Make a List and Check Your RatesNext, make a list of all your debts, excluding your mortgage.For each debt, write down how much you owe, the Annual PercentageRate (APR) and the minimum payment. Using this list, determinethe total you owe, how much you pay in interest each month andhow much goes for debt payments.”If you’re behind or have a hard time making minimum payments,you may need help,” Rupured said. “Nonprofit creditcounseling agencies can help you develop a debt repayment planthat fits your budget.” Check under “credit counselors”in the yellow pages of your phone book.If you can afford minimum payments, you can get out of debtwithout professional help.Pay More to One Debt First”Make the minimum payment on all but one of your debts,”Rupured said. “Then put any extra dollars you can come upwith toward that one debt you excluded. Focus on the debt withthe highest APR to save the most on interest.”Continue applying the same amount to debt payments every monthuntil all the debts are paid.”As you pay one credit card or other debt off, add thatamount to your payment for another creditor,” he said. “Ifyou have seven debts with a combined monthly minimum payment of$725, continue to pay $725 until you have repaid all seven debts.”Rupured says increasing your monthly debt payment by $25 canknock several months off your debt repayment time.Use Extra Money Wisely”Put tax refunds, bonuses, gifts or prizes toward yourdebts to pay them off even faster,” he said. “With fewerbills to pay, you’ll have more money, write fewer checks and evensave on postage!”For more help, ask your county Extension office about informationon the PowerPay Credit Payment Worksheet. Once you complete thePowerPay information form, you’ll get several printouts showinga repayment schedule, how long it will take to pay off your debtsand how much you will pay in interest.last_img

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *