As America’s slight economic hiccup (read: the Great Recession) comes to a close, for many, its effects are still being felt on a daily basis. Many people who were on top of their bills are now finding themselves in credit card debt, while those who already had debt are now deeper than ever. Although getting out of debt is easier said than done, the following tools will help greatly alleviate credit card debt and help those in need get back on their feet.
At BillShrink, we aim to be an invaluable resource for those who need help paying off their debt.
BillShrink helps people find a better credit card with lower interest rates. We can help you make a personalized comparison of what’s out there so that you can make the best decision for your financial needs. People can also switch cards on the spot by applying for the one that best suits their needs on the site.
Payoff.com turns paying off debt into a game. Seriously. You can earn badges, “Sur-prizes”, and valuable information about reducing your debt each time you log in.
“Payoff helps people take more ownership of their finances, engaging them in a more culturally relevant and rewarding approach to money unlike anything in the marketplace today,” says Scott Saunders, CEO and founder of Payoff.
And according to the site, your personal data is perfectly safe: “Payoff protects your information with the best military-grade 256-bit data encryption, 128-bit SSL encryption and ongoing security optimization. No financial transactions are actually generated at Payoff; your financial accounts on Payoff are read-only to ensure your security.”
3. Budgets are Sexy Blog
Typically, people who write about finances are not the people struggling to manage their own. The Budgets are Sexy Blog, as written by J. Money, defies that precedent.
Written in a very easy to follow (though sometimes eclectic) tone, this blog is a one-stop shop for all things finance. With countless resources, tools and stats, BudgetsAreSexy.com helps those who are embarrassed about their situation to find help from someone who has been there.
One of the best tools to help fight off credit card debt is something that banks have been offering for years, though few people take advantage of it.
Having control of one’s money is often the gateway towards spending it. For many people, the source of their debt is a lack of discipline. However, by using the automatic transfer feature on your bank’s website, you can guarantee that your bills get paid before you do. By setting up auto transfers, bill payments or deductions, those in debt can take away their option to spend more money on stupid things, while also ensuring that the stupid things they already bought are paid for in full.
5. Balance Transfers
Although this is often the root of many people’s problems, a balance transfer can be an absolutely essential tool in reorganizing your life.
Sometimes, credit cards will offer a special, deferred interest rate for either new or long-time customers. In exchange for transferring all existing debt to their account, you can enjoy anywhere from 12-24 months of 0% interest while you get your finances in order. Although this can be a slippery slope, it should help most people who are usually in good standing to get back on their feet again.
One of the most valuable tools in battling credit card debt is to stop accumulating it. For those just beginning their life in debt, or who feel as though they are on the brink, a well-planned budget can right their sinking ship in no time.
Ironically, it is not always the people who make the least amount of income who are in the worst financial trouble. Those who are paid handsomely often never take the time to create a budget, as they feel it is unneeded. Two BMW’s and an iPad later, these same people are offering to wash your windshield for the change in your ashtray.
No matter how much income you have coming in, making and sticking to a budget is the only way to ensure that your cash never gets lost in the shuffle, and websites such as YouNeedaBudget.com make that process incredibly easy.
Sometimes, the best way to help yourself is to destroy the thing which causes the most trouble.
Credit cards are an excellent tool for most people, but for many, they are simply too big of a temptation. If you are finding yourself time and time again paying outrageously high interest rates over several months (or years), then the only way to guarantee you’ll never be in that position again is to cut up your cards.
In today’s economy, credit card debt can get you in serious trouble. For those who are trying to battle this beast, using these tools may be the only way to secure their financial freedom. For everyone else, the best form of protection is abstinence.