Debt can be daunting when it’s growing and it seems like there is no end in sight. No one of wants to talk about how things may be getting out control in their given situation. As a culture, we feel ashamed and will hide when we should ask for help. Owing money can be frustrating, overwhelming and just down-right stressful, and for some it has nothing to do with a large or even small amount of money. When we need to get ahead in life, we use debt to advance ourselves, we borrow money for education, to start a business and also to buy a home. These types of decisions are often viewed as acceptable and necessary. But what happens when we cannot recognize the right type of debt accumulation? Debt can be detrimental to becoming more in control of your life, if not guarded and managed. In this article, I share 7 Simple Strategies that Make Debt Management Payoff, so that you can become better equipped in your decisions to maintain control of your hard earned money. Here is what you need to do to get back in control.
1. Credit cards have many households under seige. Most families are carrying an average household debt load of at least $15,000. The highest debt is identified to be among women. Women tend to spend more than men statistically and socially. TIP: Do some research on different credit cards and rates. Get an idea on what each card offers so when you apply you can approach the approval of a credit line with a clear game plan on how the card can be used. Ex. you may have a card that the interest rate is higher and another card could save you $50 a month in interest.
2. Try some negotiation. You may have a credit card that you have had for some time, and it could benefit you to ask for a interest rate reduction, waived fees or even an increase in your limit. Ex. Your current credit card is a $2000.00 limit. You have had it for 12 months, you could ask for a $500 increase. This is ideal if the card has the perks that help your strategy for consolidating some debt. Try it!
3. Use the leverage they give you. Each credit card has a payment cycle. The terms are specified in your disclosures when your credit card arrives in the mail. One great strategy the smart and savvy use, is leveraging the entire payment cycle to get interest fee money on a credit card. Ex. You need a mattress and there is a special event at a local mattress store. You need this, but cannot afford to carry any more debt and have identified your window to pay off this investment without getting yourself into trouble. So, you buy this mattress on the last day of the statement date of your credit card, you already got the deal on special from the mattress store, so you now can “float” this new purchase until the next bill cycle and not pay more interest.
4. Stores give big offers too. Nordstrom, Macys and even the GAP offer great deals for their vanity credit cards. Generally these are higher interest rate cards, but they too run specials to get you to use them. If you open an account or already own an account, you may be missing out on smarter ways to access their benefits. If your carrying their visa or mastercard logo accounts, that could mean even more strategic advantages because you can use those for purchases not limited to their stores. How can this help your debt management? You use them strategically to eliminate new debt that comes with more interest. Identify gaps in their grace periods, etc.
5. Credit cards have rewards programs that help you save money. Rewards credits and coupons can have a great impact on your debt elimination plan. This is possible because credit cards with such features also have the greatest impact on your credit score because you use them to increase reward exposure and therefore you set your self up for credit limit increases and reduced interest rates. Those two winning combinations can hep you consolidate old debt, pay it down faster and get some great perks. The key is to stick to a tight budget to ensure you stay on track and not get more in debt.
6. Take advantage of cash rewards. Cash rewards can come directly to you in the form of annual payment. COSTCO has had the best program for years for their American Express credit card users. Every year they would send 2% cash back from all the money spent over the course of a year. That for many people became Christmas or even savings account money. Cash rewards can help offset debt from another credit card or some other debt your carrying. Locate a cash reward program if you don’t have one, COSTCO’s ends in a few months, but there are other’s out in the market. This is huge and can make a difference in your debt management.
7. Do the math. Take a real close look at your current credit cards. Are you drowning in high interest? If your paying 75% of your monthly payment in interest, you need a new strategy to help you get things under control. Debt can trap you, and make it impossible to reach new financial levels. Credit cards are a tool and must be used wisely to stay out of trouble. Spending money is fact of life because you must live and credit can help you live better. Balance transfer credit cards could stop some of bleeding in the high interest rate department, but be wise when activating these offers because they are on a time limit.