Finance Experts Offer Tips To Get Out Of Debt In 2018

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018
Updated: January 30th, 2018
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

If opening up your mail brings a feeling of dread, because you don’t want to see how much you owe to which credit card companies, you’re not alone. Many Americans are struggling to get out of debt, and at the beginning of the year, credit counselor and financial planners often see a surge in the number of people seeking out their advice.

Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit counseling agency, offers assistance to anyone trying to make a plan to pay off debt and get control of their financial future. “Credit card debt and student loans plague people from all walks of life,” says Michael Sullivan, a consultant with the organization. “It’s easy to find excuses for tackling the debt, or to simply live in denial. However, the sooner the debt is dealt with, the better.” Sullivan recommends having “a structured plan of attack” to pay down the debt, and stresses that doing so could save potentially thousands of dollars down the road.

If you’re trying to deal with your debt, here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Trade your credit card for a prepaid or debit card. While you’re trying to tackle your credit card debt, it’s best not to keep on using the card. Get a great prepaid card, which works like a credit card but is paid for up front, so you can’t get into debt. Or use your debit card, which is linked directly to your bank account.
  • Create a budget. No matter how much debt you’re in, or how much money you make (or don’t make), it’s essential that you track your income and expenses so that you can have a better idea of what you have to spend and where your money is going.
  • Consider a side gig. Many people generate a second income from the “gig economy.” Drive for a ride-sharing app, do errands and odd jobs, or use your skill at knitting, cooking, or blogging to teach a class in it.
  • Transfer a balance. If you have a high-interest credit card with a significant amount of debt on it, transfer the balance to a card with a zero-interest introductory period and save on interest while you pay it off.

By doing these things, you’ll be able to be on better financial footing once you welcome the next new year.

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