As Acadiana consumers move past the holidays and Mardi Gras, many find themselves burdened with high credit card debt as a result of overspending for Christmas followed by carnival revelry.
No matter how much you owe, there are changes consumers and even businesses can make today to get out of debt and build a stronger financial future.
Better Business Bureau of Acadiana encourages those in debt to follow these five tips to help be more calculated in budgeting and debt reduction this year:
· Set up a budget to guide your spending patterns. Adjust expenses to find extra money to pay down credit card and other revolving debt – even $50 a month will help a lot over time.
· Choose a method. Debt management experts advise either paying off higher-interest balances first (this is the ladder method of debt repayment) or paying off smaller balances first (called the snowball method, because you build momentum). Either way, you’ll be moving in the right direction.
· Ask for lower rates. Most credit card companies will lower interest rates when asked, especially if you mention a“hardship plan.” Lower rates mean your payments go more toward principal instead of interest.
· Send extra payments. Make at least the minimum payment each month on every account, but send that extra amount to the chosen payoff account. As soon as that debt is paid off, put its payment and the extra toward the next account on your target list.
· Stick to the plan. It can be tempting to use your credit cards again once the balances are lowered, but that will only make it harder to get out of debt,and the process may take much longer. Resist the temptation and keep your eyes on your long-term goal.
BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Find information at bbb.org or call (337) 981-3497 around the clock for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St.Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.