If you feel like you’re in a never-ending spiral of debt that you can never climb out of, don’t despair. There are ways to stop that debt spiral in its tracks, and turn it around.
Many Americans struggle with some amount of debt, and credit card debt is one of the main things people resolve to deal with each year when resolution-making time rolls around. So don’t feel alone if you are also trying to get out of debt.
Here are a few ways to get control of your spiral and put yourself on a healthy financial path once again:
• Make a budget. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this simple and important step. Maybe you’re one of them. Figure out how much money is coming in, and where it’s going. Then map out a plan to pay off your debt and go forward, debt free. This may not be easy, but it can be done. Contact a non-profit credit-counseling agency to help, if you are having trouble doing it on your own. There are plenty of resources available to you, if you need assistance.
• Use credit wisely. Don’t shy away from using credit, as long as you can use it wisely. That means not spending more than you can really afford, paying off your balances in full each month, maximizing your credit card rewards, keeping your balances low and manageable, paying your bills on time, and not going over your credit limit. If you can do this, there’s no reason not to use credit cards. A balance transfer credit card can be a great solution to a debt spiral, because they allow you to pay down your debt without paying interest for a period of time.
• Pay attention to your credit score. It’s easy, and usually free, to get a copy of your credit report. Check it at least once a year to make sure everything is accurate, and be sure to contact the credit bureau to correct any mistakes. Having a good credit score is important for lots of reasons, and as you get out of debt, your score should begin to rise.
• Take advantage of the tools available to you. Many credit card issuers, such as Chase, offer online tools to help you get control of your debt. Chase Blueprint has several different options, including a pay down planner and a spending analyzer, that give you control over your finances and help you pay off your debt. Discover and other issuers also have a wide variety of tools available online. Log into your account center online and see what your credit card dashboard offers. Chances are, the tools are right there waiting for you.
It can be tempting to blame credit cards for your debt spiral, but the truth is, credit cards are simply another financial tool, and one that can be very useful. So don’t be afraid of using credit cards in the future. Just do it wisely, and your credit score won’t go down the drain.