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Ways to manage credit card debt

Many households in South Carolina and around the country use credit cards as part of their overall financial resources. If used properly, they can be a valuable tool in a family's budget. However, many consumers accumulate a large amount of credit card debt by paying only the minimum due each month. Unfortunately, unless action is taken to break this cycle, the debt will continue to grow. Financial experts suggest several tactics for reducing or eliminating credit card debt.

It is critical to have a full understanding of how much one owes. Ignoring the debt can only lead to more problems. Once someone has a complete picture of total debt, the next step is to list all monthly bills. In addition to regularly recurring expenses, estimate other expenses, such as food and entertainment.

Now it is necessary to develop a budget to help tackle the debt. Examine the expenses and see if there are areas to trim so that the additional funds can be used to pay down the debt. Homeowners may decide that refinancing their mortgage may provide some extra cash to apply to the credit card balances. Another option may be a personal loan if the interest rates are lower than those of the credit cards.

Experts suggest paying off the card with the highest balance first, known as the snowball method. Pay as much as possible to this card, while making the minimum payments to the others. Once that card's balance is zero, move to the card with next highest balance. Finally, it is always imperative to make payments on time so that credit scores will not be affected.

Credit card debt may be overwhelming for some South Carolina families. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help individuals evaluate their situations and understand all the options. A knowledgeable lawyer will work with clients to develop a plan to get back on track financially.

Source: theweek.com, "5 tips for finally tackling your credit card debt", Jenn Morson, Aug. 31, 2017

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