Is Debt Getting the Best of You?
No matter how much money I throw at my debt, it never seems to go down. What can I do?
Start with a map. Figure out how much you owe, to whom you owe it, and at what interest rate you’re paying it back, plus any other fees, penalties or costs that go with any of your debts. Review your credit report so you know what the credit agencies think you owe. Don’t forget to challenge anything on your report that appears fraudulent or inaccurate.
Lower your interest rate, even if it raises your payments. You can lower your interest payments by moving chunks of your debt from high-interest plans to lower-interest plans. One way to do this is to move credit card debt from one card to another, so your largest balances are at the lowest rates. Another way to do this is to get a new loan. For example, home equity loans have lower rates than most major credit cards because you have collateral to help secure the loan.
Get help from professionals. Even if you don’t want a home equity loan or a new credit card, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you get on top of your debt, from advice and literature to a variety of savings programs that can help you tackle that debt. You can also call each of your creditors to see if you can get your interest rates lowered. Sometimes a phone call is all it takes. If you’ve got a loan in hand or room on another card to move your balance, then you have the leverage to convince your creditors that they should lower their rates or risk you paying off your debt and making interest payments to someone else.