Archive for 'Debt Reduction' Category

5 essential steps to escaping your debt

Published 2/21/14

5 essential steps to escaping your debt By Holly Johnson

No matter where you live, chances are good that almost everyone you know owes money to someone. They owe money on their cars, their credit cards and their private loans. They've got satellite television and swimming pools, season tickets to football games and designer clothing. Judging only by appearances, the average family appears to have it made.

However, the numbers prove otherwise. According to Experian's latest State of Credit study, the average American is over $27,887 in debt, not including mortgage debt. And if you look around you, it's easy to see why.

If you're in debt and ready to change your ways, it's important to know that it's not too late. You can change your behaviors, change your spending habits, and learn to live within your means once and for all. It may not be easy, but it's the only way to escape from the debt you've created. Here are five essential steps to escaping your debt, once and for all:

Track your spending

Most people end up in debt because they spend more than they earn. The only way to solve this problem is to identify your spending weaknesses and address them.

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6 steps to erasing holiday credit card bills

Published 1/11/13

6 steps to erasing holiday credit card bills By Justin Boyle

It's hard not to be generous during the holiday season, to ourselves as well as to others. The trouble with that generosity, though, is that it can lead to racking up some lofty balance figures on our credit card statements.

But starting today, you can formulate a solid plan of attack on that extra holiday debt. Here are six steps you can follow to make sure that the personal finance blow-back from your holiday generosity doesn't haunt you throughout the new year.

1. Freeze your spending

Every January 1, my aunt in New York takes whatever credit cards she's used for Christmas gifts that year and chucks them into the icebox. It keeps her from raising her balances any further, she says, while also serving as an effective reminder of her pledge every time she opens the freezer door. Her literal approach to a credit freeze may be a more eccentric gesture than you prefer, but using your own method to halt your spending can help you stop buying on credit as you get things under control.

2. Confront the numbers

Take an hour or so one evening to lay out a roster of your holiday credit cards.

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Balance transfer or peer-to-peer loan?

Published 7/24/12

By Beverly Blair Harzog

The Great Recession, according to economists and other in-the-know experts, has been over for some time. But for many people, the debt they accumulated during the recession is still very much with them. If you're one of the people who's still carrying a sizable amount of debt, you've probably already thought about a balance transfer to a credit card with a lower APR.

This is often the first option considered and it's a good one, especially if you're considering transferring debt to a credit card with a 0 percent introductory APR. There are credit cards with introductory APRs on balance transfers lasting from six to 21 months, although it's usually closer to 12 months. After the intro period, you get the "go-to" rate. The go-to rate is the regular APR that you'll be paying on purchases -- and your balance -- once the intro period ends ...

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3 critical tools for paying off debt

Published 3/7/12

By MoneyBlueBook

by Gary Foreman

This article comes from Gary Foreman at The Dollar Stretcher.

Using the right tools for the job

This is the time of year when many people look at their debt situation and shudder. They dream of what it would be like to be out of debt. And, if they're brave, they begin to plan a strategy to reduce the amount of debt they carry.

They'll begin with high hopes, but many of them will quit before reaching their goal. They’re disappointed, discouraged, and defeated.

 Is there something that they could have done differently that would have given them a better chance at success? I think so. If you watch people long enough, you'll see some patterns and learn some lessons. Let's examine some of those lessons.

 You can find all kinds of advice about how to get out of debt. The web is full of the stuff. But, when you boil it all down, there are three things that form a foundation for a get-out-of-debt effort.

 It’s a marathon, not a sprint

First, don't expect immediate results. You won't be getting out of debt in a matter of days or weeks. The only way to eliminate your debts quickly is to inherit a large sum of money, win the lottery, or declare bankruptcy. The first two are unlikely. The third may remove debts quickly, but you'll suffer with a lower credit score for years to come.

 Recognize that it will probably take about as long to get out of debt as it took you Read the full article »

3 myths about professional financial advice

Published 2/6/12  (Modified 2/15/12)

3 myths about professional financial advice By Justin Boyle

A lot of people I know are taking steps to get their personal finances under control for the new year. They're trying just about everything, from swearing off credit card spending to keeping tight budgets of entertainment and retail expenses.

No one's given up yet, as far as I've been told, but we are only a little ways into 2012. A recent survey by New York Life indicates that a majority of Americans are setting similar goals for themselves, and that a startlingly small percentage of us seem to know what it takes to succeed...

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Micro-saving: a personal finance resolution you can keep

Published 1/9/12  (Modified 1/17/12)

Micro-saving: a personal finance resolution you can keep By Justin Boyle

This holiday season, I had a chance to catch up with some members of my extended family. I learned that a musician cousin of mine (let's call him Mark) had recently pulled himself back from the brink of bankruptcy and gotten his debt under control, which (no offense, Mark!) came as a small surprise.

I called Mark in Key West, to congratulate him as well as try and learn his secret. There were some pretty standard money management techniques involved, like consolidating debt and hunting up the best savings account rates and credit card APRs he could find, but there was another piece of the puzzle that I think merits sharing. For the past two years, Mark had been doing something he called "micro-saving." ...

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