…Beware of a climbing balance, paying only minimums
Do you cringe when the phone rings? Do those those yellow or pink envelopes you get in the mail go unopened? Do you have a stack of late notices that you plan to take care of “one day”? Do you hold your breath when you use your credit card to make a purchase, not knowing if it is going to be declined or accepted? If any of these things happen to you then you are definitely getting buried in debt.
In a Bankrate.com article posted by NBC News, Sonya Stinson commented — “We recommend that people’s debt load be no more than 20 percent of their take-home pay. That includes the vehicle. So, if you bring home $1,000 per month, and you’ve got a $200 a month car payment, you’d better not owe anybody else. We also recommend that your housing expense not be over 30 percent.”
Ha! There is an ever growing number of Americans whose debt load is in excess of 90% of their take-home pay. With many of us actually having more monthly debt than income.
Another indicator of your debt getting out of control is how much of your monthly debt you actually pay each month. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has a short 20 question test to help you determine (and realize) that you are in, or about to be in, a debt crisis of your own. The following are a few of the true or false questions from the questionnaire:
- I normally pay only the minimum amount due on my credit card bills.
- My credit card balances increase each month.
- Most of my credit cards are near the limit, so I’ve begun applying for new lines of credit.
- I skip paying my bills some months, or pay late.
- Collectors have begun contacting me.
- Next month’s bills arrive before I’ve paid this month’s.
- I have no emergency savings account.
- I am consumed with thoughts of my debt.
If you were able to answer yes to any of these questions there is a great likelihood that you could benefit from credit counseling and should speak with a professional.
If you are at appoint where you think you can handle your debt problem yourself and refuse to see a professional, at least take a look at the following suggestions to help when you can’t afford a loan or credit card.
Look for ways to cut expenses — Take a serious look at your spending and see if there is anything you can cut back on or cut out completely.
Contact your lenders — If you anticipate a problem making your payments don’t wait until you can’t. Contact your lender and see if they will work with you; maybe a payment moratorium or a rate reduction would help.
Be proactive — if your payment problems have already begun, seek help.
If you find yourself in a situation where your debt is starting to get out of control and your income is less than your debt, it’s time to seek the advice of a professional before it gets too far out of hand.
The professionals at DebtHelper.com can explain the benefits of a debt management program and provide you with a fresh start.
One of the biggest long-term benefits of the debt management plan is the reduction in interest. Reduced interest allows you to pay off your principal balances faster while saving you possibly thousands of dollars in finance charges.
In order to determine if you are eligible for a debt management program, you can fill out an online budget application form now and then you can contact one of their Certified Personal Finance Counselors© at (800) 920-2262.
DebtHelper.com can currently accept clients from the states listed here. DebtHelper.com is licensed, insured and complies with all state licensing requirements to ensure mandated regulations are followed. They are diligently working on becoming licensed in every state and are opening new states monthly.
Please call (800) 920-2262 if you have any questions. DebtHelper.com’s consultations are free, call them any time.