Gifts, food and parties… you’re full of the holidays and so is your credit card! This is the perfect time to resolve to end credit card debt right away. To get your financial house in order heading into the New Year, the following are some tips from First Bank:
- Put all of your credit cards on “ice.” Take every credit card out of your wallet until you have retired the total dollar amount of the debt. This may mean keeping your cards “cooling” through the spring and beyond.
- Begin NOW to set a 2015 holiday budget. Add up your holiday expenses from 2014 and divide the total by the number of pay periods you have each year. Set up a payroll deduction for this amount and put the funds into a special savings account.
- Don’t carry holiday debt from one year to the next. Resolve to spend only what you can afford and don’t go overboard.
- Always pay the monthly minimums. If possible, pay extra on the card that has the highest interest rate.
- Consider consolidating debt to one credit card with a low interest rate and pay as much as possible each month. Banks often offer special balance transfer rates to encourage consolidation.
- If you’re slipping behind, seek assistance from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). This not-for-profit service operates offices in every city and phone numbers can be found in local white pages.
- If you don’t feel comfortable contacting the CCCS, contact your creditors. Talk with them to negotiate an acceptable payment schedule. Most creditors are willing to work with you and appreciate your honesty and integrity.
First Bank firstbanks.com is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country with $5.89 billion in assets and 129 locations in Florida, Illinois, California, and Missouri.