In the months immediately following the holidays, many Florida residents are looking for ways to manage and lower their debt. However, there are several things that consumers can do today to take control of their debt and create a better financial situation for when the holidays roll around again.
Paying off existing balances is one of the best ways to obtain debt relief. Although it may be impossible to pay off all credit card debt immediately, it is advisable to make payments larger than the minimum.
Consolidating all debt balances into a single monthly payment can be helpful as well. This could result in receiving lower interest rates, smaller payments and a more manageable array of bills, however, for many Florida residents consolidation is still not always the best option as it may come with expensive service fees and banks may move in on collections anyway.
It's also advisable to request a credit report from all three of the major credit reporting agencies. This can be done once a year for free. If a person has an excessive amount of credit cards, he or she should consider canceling some of them.
Home equity loans can also be considered. Compared to other types of loans, these usually offer lower interest rates and fixed monthly payments.
Although transferring balances and negotiating for lower interest rates can provide debt relief to some residents of Florida, these activities can often generate thousands of dollars in service fees, and for those consumers who are already struggling, other debt relief options - like filing for bankruptcy - might end up being the best option.
Source: Hartford Courant, "Citizens Bank Offers Tips On Managing Post-Holiday Debt," Chris Riley, 3 Feb 2011