Credit card debt may seem like quicksand, pulling you in further the harder you try to escape. If you feel like your credit card debt is about to swallow you up, now is the time to make your escape. While getting out from under credit card debt is not an easy proposition, it is something that you can accomplish with dedication and financial smarts. Instead of thinking of credit card debt as an inevitability, put your mind to finding your way out of this financial predicament.
List your debts. To get out of debt, you must face the music. Pull out all of your credit card bills and use them to create a list of your debts. Total the figures you gather to determine just how much you are currently beholden to the credit card companies with which you do business.
Create a budget. Through budget creation, you can find extra money to allocate to the repayment of your debts. Work with your spouse to produce a household monthly budget, and allow this budget to guide your spending. Make your budget as tight as possible to ensure that you have money to put towards debt repayment.
Limit your card usage. While putting the kibosh on credit card usage completely may not be feasible, you do need to greatly reduce the degree to which you rely on plastic. Commit to only using your credit cards for emergencies, or to charging no more than a set amount to your card each month to ensure that you don’t continue to feed the intimidating debt monster, allowing it to gain more strength.
Pay your credit bills on time. Each time you make a late payment, you put yourself deeper in the hole as late charges pile on top of the amount you already owe. Avoid this by paying your bills on time, every time. If you struggle with this, get a planner and use it to keep track of your bill due dates, ensuring you don’t let them slip by.
Seek the assistance of a credit counseling service. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that consumers who feel overwhelmed by debt consider credit counseling assistance. Reputable credit counselors can provide you with education regarding credit and support as you work to get out of debt. Avoid any credit counseling services that are fee-based, as these are commonly disreputable.
File bankruptcy if all else fails. While bankruptcy should never be your first resort, it is there if escape proves impossible. The Federal Trade Commission cautions that bankruptcy will severely hurt your credit, and remain on your record for 10 years. If you do decide that you can’t repay all of your debt obligations, carefully weigh the pros and cons of bankruptcy before selecting that out.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.