Getting a handle on your alarmingly steep credit card balances

Just about everybody has experienced that sinking feeling of dread when their credit card bill comes in the mail and you finally have to confront it. Your balance is like a noxious weed growing in the backyard. One day. it’s manageable, and before you know it, it’s several feet tall and growing unstoppably. The mere act of seeing it makes you cringe.

The really nasty thing about credit card debt is how easy it is for it to pile up – and up. You may be making large, extravagant purchases or a bunch of small, everyday ones – toys for your kids, furniture for the house, repairs to the family vehicle. The total can swell to an amount that’s hard for you to handle or even chip away at. You’re in over your head and can foresee no way out.

Indiscriminately paying for loads of things with plastic is not usually a great idea. Probably the best way to reduce your balances and breathe easy again is to take a few common-sense steps that will diminish your debt and brighten your financial outlook.

Change your philosophy about credit card use

Experts say you should recognize the red flags of unwise credit card use. Then work on improving your habits. If your credit score is plummeting like a rock, you’re automatically using credit cards at places like the supermarket and the gas station and you are making monthly payments long after they are due, you need to shape up fast.

What can you do differently?

  • A credit counselor might be able to help you make a workable plan to trim your debt.
  • Grapple with your lowest balances right off the bat. Seeing some improvement may give you optimism.
  • Put the credit cards away for a while.

What if you’ve already tried all that?

If you are seriously awash in credit card debt, ask someone you trust to strategize with you and inform you of potential legal options at your disposal. Relief could be just a short distance away from where you are now.

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