If there are so many dangerous routes to becoming free of credit card debt (and indebted elsewhere), what represents the golden path? The answer doesn't involve a quick fix, but will provide a safer, long-lasting solution.
The first step requires a change of behavior. "The main obstacle is changing your spending habits," Freeman says. "By simply doing that, you will be able to reduce expenses and pay off your debt."
Don't open any new accounts.
Reduce expenses by bringing your lunch to work, taking public transportation, shopping at wholesale stores, etc.
Don't transfer balances unless you can pay the full balance before the promotional period expires.
Budget, budget, budget.
"Create a spending plan to determine the total amount you owe and your total monthly income to see where you can reduce expenses," Freeman suggests. She also says to focus on paying your bills on time and alerting your creditors immediately if you will not be able to pay your bills when they are due. If need be, cut up all of your credit cards except for one to use for emergencies -- and keep that one safely tucked away to reduce splurge temptation.
Once this financial bleeding has been stanched it's time to go to work on whittling down that debt. Finding a good 0 percent APR balance transfer credit card is often a good next step. Think of this credit card as a debt consolidation loan; don't carry it in your wallet. It's simply a place to park your debt at no interest in order to begin cutting it down.
Attaining freedom from debt at this point is a matter of using your newly budgeted income to pay it off bit by bit until it is gone.It takes time and self-discipline to destroy debt, but once you are free of its shackles, you will lift an enormous weight off your back.
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