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Avoid Credit Debt

Spiraling credit debt is a casualty of modern times, and this is particularly evident in the U.S., where the typical household is burdened with a credit debt averaging $8400.  For the millions of Americans caught in this dangerous cycle spawning substantial fees and finance charges, credit debt reduction becomes imperative for financial survival.  To regain control over their finances, debtors need to bite the bullet and exercise a good dose of discipline, budgeting and management skills, as well as common sense.  By implementing the following tried-and-true credit repair methods, consumers are able to avoid the severe consequences of indebtedness and get themselves back on a solid financial track:

1. Credit Counseling
Consumers may seek out credit card debt help by consulting a reputable counseling organization, which can help them 1) improve their cash flow management through effective budgeting, 2) set up a payment plan, 3) negotiate with creditors to obtain a reduction in their minimum payments and interest rate, an extension of their loan term, and/or a waiver of late fees.

2. Feasible Budgeting
To reduce credit debt, consumers should draw up a budget, comprised of income and expenses, and adhere to it as much as practicable.  This helps them identify where their cash is going and how much they are spending, which will in turn enable them to cut expenditures accordingly.

3. Loans
Credit debt relief is available through low-interest loans, such as home equity loans, which boast significantly-lower interest rates than credit cards and the interest of which is generally tax-deductible.  Debtors may also borrow from their 401(k) or from family and friends.

4. Debt Consolidation
Consumers can also lock in a substantially lower interest rate and lower their monthly bills by consolidating their credit debt.  Furthermore, by combining their outstanding debt into one payment, consolidation simplifies debt repayment and saves debtors money.

5. Timely Payment
To avoid late fees and jacked-up interest rates on future purchasers, consumers should pay their bills in full by the due date.  By failing to pay on time, they also jeopardize their credit rating.  Consumers can avoid late fees by 1) automating their payments online and 2) contacting their credit company in advance of an anticipated late payment to obtain a reprieve.

6. Prioritizing and Snowballing Payments
Debtors with multiple accounts should jot down the requisite minimum monthly payment and total balance for each credit card.  They should then proceed to clear those credit cards with the smallest balances first.  Alternatively, they may choose to first pay off the cards with the highest interest rates.  Consumers should also consider snowballing their payments, or transferring balances on cards carrying high interest rates to cards with low interest rates.  They may also switch to a credit card that features a lower interest rate.

7. Paying the Maximum and More than the Minimum Balance
Credit debt reduction may also be effectuated by paying more than the mere minimum due.  The longer consumers take in repaying their credit card bills, the more interest the banks charge.  The average minimum monthly bill is comprised of 10 percent principal and 90 percent interest.  Therefore, by paying the maximum amount they can afford, consumers will save a substantial sum of money over time. 

8. Negotiation Of Terms With Creditors
Debtors should contact their lender and explain their situation.  An extremely viable option for consumers seeking to reduce credit debt is negotiating with creditors and requesting the following:
  • A lower repayment plan
  • A reduced interest rate
  • Longer loan terms
  • Waiver of late fees
9. Debt Negotiation
Consumers may obtain credit debt relief by contacting their credit card company and negotiating a debt settlement.  Debt negotiation enables consumers to settle their credit card debt for a lower amount.

10. Living Below One's Means
A practice that is guaranteed to save individuals from credit debt is spending less than they earn.  Consumers should avoid financing unaffordable purchases with a credit card.  To reduce credit debt, they are well-advised to refrain from impulse buying and from purchasing luxury or unnecessary items.  As a general rule, 10% of an individual's total income should be set aside as savings.

Additional credit debt information: