May 23, 2018

Is Your Personal Debt Bigger Than a Mortgage? Don’t Lose Hope

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated March 13, 2019

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It’s disheartening to look at your total consumer and credit card debt and realize that it’s bigger than the typical mortgage. If you owe six figures, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of endless financial stress. Here are a few ways you can get your debt under control without losing hope.

One big consolidated number can be overwhelming. Use a budgeting tool or a spreadsheet and list your debts, minimum payments and applicable interest rates. While you may be tempted to go down the list starting with the highest interest rate first, pay close attention to how much that actually costs you.

In some cases, high balances with lower interest rates may end up costing you more than smaller balances with high interest. Base your decision-making on hard data as much as possible. The less you pay in interest, the more you can put towards the balances.

Late payment and over-limit fees result in less money to pay your debt with. Prioritize getting everything up to date with at least the minimum payments in place. Set up an auto payment so you don’t have to worry about these bills getting covered in the future.

Some lenders have repayment assistance programs available to help you get caught up or to spread out your payments over a longer period of time. Don’t be afraid to call in and see whether they have help available for your situation.

Do you have a way to reduce or eliminate interest rates on your balances? Consolidation loans may be an option, as you have a single payment and interest rate for all of your consumer debt. You should research the best debt consolidation companies before taking this step.

Another option is balance transfer promotions to credit cards, although pay close attention to the fees associated with this service. Our breakdown of the best balance transfer credit cards will help you decide if that option is right for you.

Six figures of consumer debt are stressful enough to begin with. If you dedicate literally all of your time and money to paying it down, you may find yourself failing at the plan entirely. Make sure to allocate some funds for enjoying yourself. You don’t want to spend a lot of money, but free and low-cost entertainment options can make a big difference in the sustainability of the plan.

You have a long road ahead of you, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Use these tips to make progress on your credit card debt.

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