Get Crucial Facts About Debt Consolidation from UWSA
UWSA offers advice on credit card debt consolidation, refinancing, savings, and more
Up to your ears in bills? You're not alone. Want to start saving money, but you're not sure where to begin? Thinking of debt consolidation, but not sure if it's a good idea? Read on to rearrange your finances, and get the peace of mind you're longing for. Also, see our tips on student consolidation and debt management.
Credit Card Debt: Why You May Be Doing Even Worse Than You Think.
You may have heard that the national average for U.S. household credit card bills is pushing $9,000. If you've been comforting yourself by thinking, "Oh, I only have $7,000 in credit card debt, so I'm doing better than average - I don't need debt consolidation," think again. Financial experts will remind you that the $9,000 figure is skewed - in reality, more than half of American households pay off their credit card balances monthly or don't use credit cards at all; the majority of those who owe credit card debt owe much less than $9,000.
In fact, less than 10% of Americans owe that much - and many owe much more, tilting the average to the high end. Who's in the most trouble when it comes to credit cards? Often, it's those with household incomes under $50,000, according to MSN Money. People fall into the vicious cycle of credit cards when they use cards for expenses beyond their means or even for day-to-day living expenses. Once you start racking up those finance charges, and interest fees, it's hard to escape. That $7000 can easily turn into $9000...then $13000...then $17000...until you have a totally unmanageable burden. That's why consolidating your bills [link to lead gen form at bottom of page] is a good idea.
Steps You Can Take Before Turning to Debt Consolidation:
If you're not yet behind on your credit card payments but you're struggling to pay your bills, here are a few things you can do before you try to consolidate debt:
- Negotiate with your creditors to work out a payment plan with more favorable terms.
- Transfer your balances to cards with lower interest rates - and cut up your high-interest rate cards
- Use cash for daily necessities - psychologically, you're likely to spend less if you're using cash instead of plastic.
- Identify ways you can save, and develop a monthly budget that you can stick to. (Credit counseling can help you with this).
If you can obtain a home equity line of credit - assuming you're not near retirement and you've built up equity in your house, consider using it to pay down your credit card debt, since home equity debt consolidation loans will have a lower interest rate.
About Debt Collectors:
If you've fallen behind and your credit card companies have already turned your bills over to collectors, you should know that
- According to federal law, collectors cannot call you after 9 pm or before 8 am.
- They may not harass you
- They must honor a written request from you to stop contacting you.
If you're dealing with collectors, obey some basic rules of thumb:
- Be honest
- Get written records of all transactions - be sure to get confirmations of money you've paid.
- Don't let debt collectors take money directly from your bank account
- Stay on top of the situation - dispute false charges as soon as you can
- Consider credit counseling and debt consolidation.