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Consumers with credit card debt assume the average debt is much lower than it is. Many consumers believe a few thousand dollars in debt is the average amount, but the average credit card debt carried by Americans is approximately $15,000. It seems excessive, but the amount is the new normal. If you carry average to high credit card debt, you might wonder how you can take control of your financial situation, pay off your debts, and begin to live a life that’s debt-free and more affordable. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine, but it’s also not going to be an easy task.

Quit Spending

You’re in debt, and this means it’s time to stop spending. Change your eating habits to eat at home, make your meals less expensive, and stop going out. Stop vacationing, buying new clothes, and paying for things you don’t need. It’s time to buckle down and stop spending money that’s not essential or vital to your survival. Every penny you have must be spent on your debt repayment. No more spending is a way of life until you are debt-free and able to spend without worry.

Transfer Balances

If you’re struggling to repay your credit card debts but you still have good credit, consider transferring your balances to a credit card with a long 0% APR introductory period. It’s often the high interest rates associated with credit card debt that make it impossible to repay debt in a timely manner. You can minimize your many credit card debts into one, eliminate interest payments for a year or more, and apply every spare penny to your debt repayments. It’s going to surprise you how much faster you can repay your debts when you don’t have interest and only one payment.

Pay More than the Minimum

Whether you use the snowball method of paying as much as possible to one card and then applying that payment to another each time a card is paid off or you just decide to pay more each month, do it. By paying more than the minimum due, you work on paying off your debts faster. It also looks better to the credit bureaus when consumers pay more than they are required to pay each month. Minimum payments are little more than just interest payments with a minimal amount of principle balance added to it. By adding more to your monthly payment, you’re tackling your balance and minimizing your interest payments.

Consider Debt Consolidation

If you have the credit to apply for a consolidation loan or a home equity loan, or any other kind of loan that allows you to pay off your debts and have one big debt, do it. This is one way to ensure you’re able to pay off your loans as quickly and as affordably as possible. Doing this allows you to take numerous payments, numerous interest rates, and turn them into one payment with one much lower rate. You’ll pay it off faster because you can afford to apply more money to your minimum payment without spending it all on numerous interest rates.

Take Advantage of Credit Counseling

The mistake many consumers make is not taking advantage of credit counseling courses. You will be surprised what you learn in credit counseling, and how it can help you change your financial outlook. Credit counseling is available to anyone, and it can be found anywhere from your local church to local banks to online courses. Find one that works for you, and consider spending the time learning what you don’t already know.

Average is nothing you want to be. Average is boring, it’s right in the middle, and it’s what everyone seems to be. Change your life by taking care of your debt and making it possible to exceed the average in a positive manner. The most difficult part of managing your debt is getting started, but it’s much easier to manage once you see a bit of progress. Seeing debts paid off becomes addicting to those who have them, and you’ll be able to pay it off much faster than you ever imagined when you take the time to begin now rather than later. Don’t be afraid to get started.