Monday, January 12, 2009

CRA Exclusive: 10 Ways To Help You Beat a Credit Hangover

It’s economic Armageddon. House prices are cratering, banks are begging for spare change, and it seems everywhere you turn someone is in need of a rescue plan -- including you. With the incoming bills from this past holiday season's charge-fest, you're starting to get buyer's remorse, big time.

Don't panic, we have 10 ways to help you beat a credit hangover.

Credit Hangover Tip No. 1:

Don't Panic

First, calm down and stop hyperventilating. According to Lesley A. Hoenig, a bankruptcy attorney licensed in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota, realizing that your debt problem is not the end of the world is extremely important. “You will make it out of this situation one way or another,” says Hoenig. “What's imperative is to make a definitive list of all the debts you owe.” She explains that doing this will help to ensure that everything debt-wise can be dealt with properly, which should help you breath a lot easier, thus avoiding a credit-induced aneurism down the road.

Credit Hangover Tip No. 2:

Pay Off High-Interest Debts First

It's always a good idea to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, advises Hoenig. “The higher the interest rate, the more interest that will accrue. With an APR of 30 percent it takes only three years before you wind up paying more than twice what you originally owed.” Determine which credit cards or debts are costing you the most interest, and work double-time at paying them off first. Remember, the two-fisted monster of compound interest works in your favor when you’re saving money, not when you’re borrowing it.

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