If any of the following describe you, you may have too much debt or be heading down a dangerous road to high debts:
- I’m not sure how much I owe.
- I can only pay the minimum amounts due on my credit cards and other bills each month.
- The total amount of money that I owe isn’t getting any smaller.
- I often pay my bills late.
- I often juggle who and how much I pay each month.
- I am borrowing from one credit card to pay another credit card.
- More than 20% of my monthly take-home pay goes to pay off debt (other than a home mortgage payment).
- I put off going to the doctor or the dentist because I cannot afford it right now.
- I spend more than I earn.
- I would have financial problems right away if I lost my job or missed a paycheck.
- I borrow from friends or family and cannot pay them back.
Some ideas that may help you:
- Keep a record of your current living expenses for a month. Look for ways to reduce expenses so you can pay back your debts.
- Cut back on your credit card use. Leave your credit cards at home.
- Set up a plan for paying back your debts. Then inform your creditors, using WISER’s sample letter, about the debt repayment plan that you are proposing to them.
- Get help from a nonprofit financial counseling agency. Check to see if your local state university (Extension Service) offers a free debt management service. They can help you set up a repayment plan and write to your creditors.
- For one-on-one credit counseling, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227 or nfcc.org.