The first step in tackling any issue is realizing that you have a problem. If you and your partner realize that you have a problem with credit card debt before falling behind on your payments or getting calls from your creditors, you are on the road to proactively dealing with the issue. There are several options available to gain control of your credit card problems before they interfere with your life.
While few people like to think about living on a budget, it is an essential step in addressing your problem. Sit down with your partner and list all of your required expenses and income. Look at your credit card statements to determine how many of your charges are for impulse items or things that you don't need, such as eating out, lattes and those really cute shoes that you thought you couldn't live without. Pay all of your bills and put any leftover money toward paying your credit card debt. According to MSN Money, you should pay off the card with the highest interest rate first.
Call Your Creditors
Before you ever get behind in your payments, contact the credit card issuers to discuss your situation. Many companies have programs to help borrowers who find themselves in a financial bind. According to Capital One, if a creditor knows that you are working on a way to pay your debt, it might not file a negative report with the credit bureaus. Ask the credit card company to lower your interest rate, eliminate fees and help you work out a payment plan that you can afford.
Various websites provide a list of credit cards with zero-percent introductory rates. MSN Money Best Credit Card Rates webpage lists the cards by name, purchase rate, introductory rate and the length of time that the introductory rate remains valid, allowing consumers to select the right card for their circumstances. The best offers might require that you have no late payments or defaults showing on your credit report. Introductory rates must stay in effect for at least six months unless you fail to honor your agreement with the company.
Many people consider credit counseling as a last resource for individuals in crisis over debt. The fact is, you can use a credit counseling service any time you are dealing with your debt, including when you are looking for proactive solutions. Many agencies provide free or low-cost counseling that includes financial education and budgets. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counselors, over 33 percent of their clients learn how to work their way out of debt without further issue. The U.S. Department of Justice maintains a database of approved agencies searchable by state.
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