Search Icon
header-learningCenter

QUICK TIPS

You CAN Manage Your Debt 

 

Debt - A four letter word that causes so much anxiety for so many people. According to the latest report from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, (December 2011), the average American household that carries a balance on at least one credit card has nearly $15,950 in credit card debt. That is not taking into account other debts – car, personal or student loans! While your debt load may not be that high, whatever your total is could be causing you many sleepless nights. But there is a way you can manage your debt load. Apprisen offers this advice to help you get back on track:

 

Put it on paper. Get your head out of the sand. Make a list of everybody you owe money to. Getting it on paper will give you an accurate picture of your financial situation and provide the motivation to create a plan to start paying your creditors off.

Track your expenses. You probably don’t realize how much you are spending on a weekly basis on things like food and entertainment. By cutting cost in these areas you could generate extra cash to apply to your debt payments.

Prioritize your expenses. Take a realistic look at your monthly bills and determine what you HAVE to pay and what you can give up, (or cut back on), to apply to your creditor payments. For example, do you need all of your cable services or all the bells and whistles on your cell phone plan?  

Create a power payment plan. Now that you have freed up some extra cash in your spending plan you can apply that to your creditor payments. Create a chart listing the creditor, balance, current minimum payment, interest rate and power payment. If your interest rates are high on your retail accounts, you might be able to call your creditor and have them reduce your interest rate which will allow you to pay them off faster.

 

Creditor Balance Payment Interest Rate  Power Payment
Dept Store  $500  $10  2.9%  $50
Discover  $950  $19  9.5%  $19 
Car Loan  $5,500  $150  6.99%  $150 
Total  $6,950  $179    $219 

 

One strategy in the power payment plan is to apply all extra cash to the creditor with lowest balance. When that creditor is paid off, you take that amount and apply it to the creditor with the next lowest balance.  In this method, you get the satisfaction of seeing accounts being paid off. Another strategy would be to pay the extra on the accounts with the highest interest rate. Either way, you have a system in place to get your debts paid within a shorter period of time than if you were just making minimum payments.

Get motivated. Thanks to the Credit Card Reform Act, you can see the effects of paying more than your minimum payments on your accounts. Creditors are now required to list on their statements how much you will be saving in time and interest if you made more than the minimum payments on your balance. Seeing this in writing could give you the motivation you need to know that by adding a few extra dollars to your payments each month how much you could save. 

You don’t have to do this alone. If your debt is too overwhelming, or you don’t know where to begin, Apprisen is here to help. You can speak with one of our certified counselors who will review your financial situation and offer you an action plan that is specific to your needs. There is no cost to you for this consultation. 

Apprisen BBB Business Review United Way