The holidays have come and gone, and if you've used credit cards to finance purchases, the following tips may help you to chip away at your debt and start 2012 with a brighter light at the end of your financial tunnel.
Pay More than the Minimum Payment
This is one of the first things we're all told upon receiving our first credit card, but it's an easy bit of advice to forget. If you get paid bi-weekly, try to budget just a little more than your minimum payment when your bill is due (if you can pay more, or pay off your card entirely, then good for you!). Then, after receiving your second paycheck of the month, try throwing an extra $20-$50 towards your principal payment. $20-$50 dollars may not sound like much, but you're not only lowering your average daily balance (and moving towards paying less in finance charges); the extra $240-$600 per year can help you move closer to paying off your card.
Consolidate Your Debt
Simplify your finances by consolidating your credit card or credit line debt from multiple cards or institutions onto your SF Fire Credit Union Platinum Visa. Not only will this help make your debt easier to manage, but that debt will be moved to a credit card with a lower interest rate (based on credit worthiness).
Stop Paying with Credit Until You've Reached Your Goal
In tough economic times, using your credit cards for discretionary spending can seem like the easiest immediate solution, but try not to use your revolving credit lines for this type of spending if possible. And for next holiday season, start saving early in the year to avoid placing holiday purchases on your credit cards.
Contact BALANCE Financial Fitness ProgramTM (Free to Members!)
The above tips may be enough to help you inch your way to a debt-free 2012, but if you require more assistance, we encourage you to contact the BALANCE Financial Fitness ProgramTM. As a member of SF Fire Credit Union, BALANCE's counseling services are free to you. They can help with developing a real-world spending and savings plan, improving your credit score, planning for your future or buying a home, and much more. To enroll, call 888.456.2227 or visit their website at https://www.balancepro.net/.