Most of us typically tear up all those credit card balance transfers that arrive in our mailboxes. But if you want to go on a tear with your debt reduction efforts, a balance transfer can help. By transferring high rate debt to a zero percent deal — one that lasts for 12 months or so — you eliminate all credit-card interest. That frees up cash flow, giving you additional money to knock out those credit card bills. Just read the fine print before signing up to make sure you are really getting that low rate.
One of the best things you can do is learn your rights as a consumer. For instance, many people don't realize that you can contact credit card companies directly to negotiate your own settlement or hire a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. Bossler adds that you should make sure you're covered by getting settlement offers in writing before sending money.
Being in debt has a lot in common with being on the top of a ladder—you know that tall, intimidating and unstable piece of metal you use to do dangerous things like clean gutters and cut trees. See the connection? We want to come down from that ladder and re-establish some firm financial footing. Not only that, but we want to pay off our debt fast, in the quickest and most efficient way possible, so that we don’t waste any money on extra unnecessary interest. That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this post. One quick disclaimer, though: this method won’t work for people who are struggling to make monthly payments. If your debt is overwhelming, try our free credit counseling service instead.
‘I’m so happy that I reached out to the National Debt Relief company! I never have a problem reaching a live representative and have been very impressed with their customer service. They recently negotiated with one of my creditors on my behalf and reduced my credit card debt with them by a substantial margin. I look forward to the day when all of my credit card debt is gone, and with National Debt Relief helping me, I’m sure it will happen!”
The consequences of bankruptcy are significant and require careful consideration. Other factors to think about: Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows you, if you have a steady income, to keep property, such as a mortgaged house or car, that you might otherwise lose. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.
Not into starting your own business? Then consider becoming a driver for Lyft or Uber. A pizza delivery job at night could also bring in extra money. You can even deliver other types of food in your spare time by working for places like Uber Eats or Grubhub. Sure, you’ll have to put aside your pride and give up some nights and weekends of downtime. But that’s a small sacrifice for extra cash in your pocket.
The tourism industry runs largely on low-paying jobs, as does the service industry that supports all those visitors. Florida’s per capita income of $26,582 ranks 32nd among U.S. states. Florida’s unemployment rate is a respectable 4.8%, but its labor force participation rate is 60.3%, meaning almost four out of 10 Floridians have dropped out of the work force.
Debt settlement companies have a profit motive. Debt settlement companies are for-profit businesses that usually charge a percentage of the settled debt. For example, if you owe $5,000 and your debt was settled for $3,000, the company may charge you 25% of the $2,000 they saved you—costing you $500. And though you'd be wise not to avoid credit payments as a strategy to reduce debt, these companies can't do anything you can't do for free on your own.
Ramsey says if you list all credit card debts in order of amount owed and start by paying off your smallest debt, then move up the ladder and eliminate them one-at-a-time, you will have more success at retiring all debts. He believes the wins on small debt build confidence and lead to wins against larger debt amounts. It’s counterpart, debt avalanche, takes a more mathematical approach and will actually save money.
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So, in this case, it’s better to start with your lowest credit card balances, rather than your highest APR debts. You knock out the “low hanging fruit,” which frees up more cash to tackle your largest debts. The steps are the same as the five steps listed above; however, at Step 2 you arrange your debts starting with the lowest balance and ending with the highest.
For individuals and families trying to figure out how to pay off debts, American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides nonprofit credit counseling, credit card reduction and consumer debt management services for consumers nationwide. Our certified credit counselors provide financial education for anyone wanting to learn how to get out of debt and how to eliminate credit card debt. As alternative to expensive debt restructuring services and credit card debt consolidation loans, our debt management plans are a kind of credit card relief program that have helped thousands of people pay down credit card debt by consolidating payments and reducing interest rates and finances charges. We also offer bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling and other financial education services for help getting out of debt.
Standard payments are the best option. Standard means regular payments—at the same monthly amount—until the loan plus interest is paid off. With regular payments, satisfying the debt happens in the least amount of time. Also, as an added benefit, this method accrues the least amount of interest. For most federal student loans, this means a 10-year period of repayment.
Sometimes it's a great idea to pay off debt, and sometimes there are better options. Explore the pros and cons and then make an informed decision. Pros include paying less interest and having that money to save for future financial goals and investment. But make sure you have enough in your emergency cash fund before speeding up payments. In some cases, a loan's interest rates might be so low it makes no sense to accelerate. But some people just like the feeling of being debt-free.
Using credit card balance transfers to consolidate your credit card debt is another way to save money on credit card interest and make progress toward paying down your debt. Here’s how it works. Take higher interest credit card debt and transfer the balance to a credit card that has a lower interest rate, preferably one offering zero-percent interest. For example, if you have $5,000 in credit card debt on a card with a 23.99% interest rate and you can transfer this debt to a 0% card (12-month introductory offer), you’ll save $1,200 over 12 months. Most credit cards charge a 3% balance transfer fee. In this case, that’s only $150: still worth filling out the application.