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Debt Consolidation Facts

1. If you spend more than 50% of your credit limit every month, this indicates to the Credit Bureau that you do NOT have enough cash on hand to meet your monthly expenses. This will identify you as a high credit risk and will actually reduce your credit score by 60 - 70 points overnight (Fair Isaac).

2. If you miss 1 or 2 payments on your credit card debt, the issuing company will skyrocket your interest rate to a whopping 27% - 30%!

3. Out of a random sample of 3 million American consumers (included in Experian's National Score Index), 51% of them have at least 2 credit cards and 14% of them have 10 or more credit cards.

Ten expenses to avoid if you have credit card debt

  1. A gym membership: A gym membership is a luxury, even if you do use it on a regular basis. Your health is important, but there are other ways to stay in shape. Instead of running on a treadmill, go for a run in the park. If you need more motivation, most cities have running clubs that are free to join. You don’t need all of the weightlifting machines, either. You can do pushups, pull-ups and squats without leaving your house. Use gallon jugs of water to give you extra resistance.

Video: Debt Solution: Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford (SNL)

  1. credit card debtCable: Watching TV is bad for your budget. In addition to the cable fee, television encourages you to spend money that you don’t have. All those commercials are designed to tempt you into buying things you don’t need. Switch it off and go for that run.
  2. Eating out: Going out to restaurants is fun, but it’s not a necessity. It’s much cheaper to cook your own meals. Get a couple cookbooks from the library and try some new recipes.
  3. Late fees: The best way to avoid late fees is to remember to pay your bills on time. This helps you in two ways. First, you avoid the extortionate penalties. Second, you improve your credit score. With a better credit score, you can borrow money at a lower interest rate.
  4. Recreational shopping: For many people, shopping is not just about buying things. It’s a social activity, a form of entertainment and a mood-booster. If you want to get out of debt, you must change your attitude towards shopping. Don’t go shopping unless you plan to buy something specific. Don’t plan to buy something that you do not genuinely need.

Video: Debt is an Addiction

  1. Junk food: Potato chips are the most expensive way of eating one of the world’s cheapest foods. Junk food is overpriced and bad for you. Real food is much cheaper, especially if you cook it yourself (see number 3).
  2. Smoking: Smoking is even worse for you than junk food. It’s also more expensive. Use your new frugal lifestyle as an excuse to kick the habit.

Video: Debt is an Addiction

  1. Buying DVDs: Buying a DVD is cheaper than going to the movies which, in itself, is cheaper than going to the theater. But DVDs are still a waste of money. If you want to see a film, rent the DVD or borrow it from your local library. Just remember to return it on time to avoid late fees.
  2. Designer clothes: This one is obvious. If you have credit card debt, you will have to learn to live without expensive labels. That’s how people get into debt in the first place. Designer clothes are, by their very definition, items of luxury. If you’re in debt, you cannot afford luxury.
  3. High interest rates: If you have credit cards with high interest rates, then you’re simply throwing your money away. That’s the last thing you want to do when you are already in debt. Try transferring the balances from high-interest cards to ones with a lower APR.

Alternatively, debt consolidation may be the best option for you. Consider consolidating your debts into a single loan. The interest on that loan may be lower than on your credit cards.