If your monthly debt payments to credit cards and banks and retail outlets, exceed 20% of your income, your debts are what might be termed 'out of control'. If that's you, it's time you took serious steps in a smart direction. The first step you need to take in your self-examination is to write down what you owe, to whom, and how much they take off you each month. This is important, because so often we don't even count what we're paying out, and we wonder why we're always broke.
Once you've done that, identify the debts that are costing you the most. For example, are you paying more interest on one credit card than another? Is that retail charge account charging you a minimum of $50 per month, even though your interest is far less? Don't worry about totals - just look at percentages. That 23.5% interest rate on your MasterCard needs to be the first thing you lose. The 19% on the Visa, that's your next bet. Order them according to how much they're ripping you off, and look your list over.
The first items on the list - the bigger interest rates items - you need to lose those and lose them now. Perhaps you can sell some things you have lying around, and put the proceeds directly to the first thing on the list. Maybe you can borrow from a relative, and pay them bank interest rates, while using the money to pay off your credit card.
Maybe you can even get a second job for the summer, and use that money to pay off the second or third item on your list down. Another option is a very simple, yet often overlooked option - call your creditors and let them know they're killing you. In short, if you call your credit card company and let them know you're unhappy with your interest rate, they may well reduce it for you, or even give you a few months of interest free time to help pay down what you owe (it doesn't happen often, but it does happen). Alternately, calling one credit card company you have an account with and asking if they can transfer your debt from one card to another, may just see you able to move your debt from a high interest account to a lower interest account, at no cost to you. When in doubt, call the company up and ask.
Ultimately, they don't want you going broke. They want you to be able to pay everything back, so if you'll work with them, they'll work with you.
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