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For many people, one of the biggest financial drains is credit card debt. Taking control of the problem involves two steps: First, you must stop spending foolishly and second, you must dump all of your high interest credit cards. Paying a large portion of your monthly payment only to interest is not only expensive, but makes it almost impossible to pay down the balance.

If you should ever not pay a credit card balance, that blemish stays on your record and can prevent you from getting a car loan and a mortgage loan. If you ever declare bankruptcy, it will be on your credit record and affect your credit rating for 7 to 10 years.

You can reap all of the benefits of a credit card by owning and more importantly taking “responsibility” for just one credit card.

Use the following 5 easy steps to reduce your credit card debt:
(Steps apply to all forms of unnecessary debt!)

  • Pay more than the minimum payment each month on time.
    (This of course is just the beginning of the road to recovery from unnecessary, unwanted debt.)
  • Get a system for tracking and paying off debt.
    (Quicken, by Intuit, is a popular money management program. Also used widely is Microsoft Money.)
  • Negotiate debt balances with credit card companies.
    (Credit card companies have realized that with the amount of credit card debt in this country if they want to get any money back from debtors they have to make deals.)
  • Negotiate repayment time scales with creditors.
  • Put your repayment plan in writing.
    (Write down all of your debts and divide the amount of money you have available to repay debt each month between your creditors. Base the division on your negotiations with creditors and by balances due to each creditor.)

 A final note: Keep your cool when dealing with creditors. Remember, creditors have been taught to be mean and nasty. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. You should devise a plan that will truly attempt to deal with your situation and stick to it!