Lugging Credit Card Debt Into 2024? Now’s the Time to Make a Plan

Mindy Neira, a financial planner in Westwood, N.J., recommended that if you were having trouble managing card debt, take stock of your spending. “The first step is to look — without judgment — at where your money is going,” she said, including housing, food, entertainment, travel and loan payments.

Then set a target for each category. (Ms. Neira said she preferred setting targets to making a strict budget, to account for monthly variations.) Ask: “Can I shift things around? Can I spend an extra $25 a month to pay down the debt?” Realize that if you took years to build your card balance, it will also take time to pay it off — so set realistic expectations.

If you are carrying balances on multiple cards, that’s a signal that you are spending beyond your means, said Rob Williams, managing director of financial planning at Charles Schwab. He advised paying off the card with the highest interest rate first by making more than the minimum payment. (This is sometimes called the “avalanche” method: While paying off that card, you make minimum payments on the others. After the first one is paid off, start paying more than the minimum on the card with the next highest rate, and so on.)

To avoid building up debt again once you’ve paid it off, try using a waiting period when shopping online, said Luis Rosa, a financial planner in Las Vegas. Put the item in the digital shopping cart, he said, but hold off paying for 24 hours. “Maybe you’ll decide you don’t need the item,” he said.

Another suggestion: Use two separate checking accounts, said Alvin Carlos, a financial planner in Washington, D.C. Use one for fixed essentials like your rent, mortgage or loan payments. Then decide how much you can afford for fun, like dining out and shopping, and transfer that amount to the second account each month. That way, Mr. Carlos said, you don’t have to stop and think about each purchase. Check your balance weekly, and when it approaches zero, you’re done spending until next month. (Ask your bank to make sure there are no extra fees for a second spending account.)


Source link

Related Posts

U.S. Leading Soft Landing for Global Economy

The world is starting 2024 on an optimistic economic note, as inflation fades globally and growth remains more resilient than many forecasters had expected. Yet one country…

Job Market Starts 2024 With a Bang

The United States produced an unexpectedly sizable batch of jobs last month, a boon for American workers that shows the labor market retains remarkable strength after three…

6 Reasons That It’s Hard to Get Your Wegovy and Other Weight-Loss Prescriptions

About 3.8 million people in the United States — four times the number two years ago — are now taking the most popular weight-loss drugs, according to…

Sean Wang Lives His ‘Fairy Tale’ at Sundance

“I feel like I’m in a fairy tale,” Sean Wang said to the sold-out crowd gathered at the Ray Theater in Park City, Utah, last month for…

Meta’s Stock Surges After Jump in Profits

Meta’s stock price soared on Friday, adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the market value of the social media giant that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp….

He’s Lost His Marriage, His Followers and His Lamborghini

With its streamlined curves and glow-in-the-dark sound system, the silver Lamborghini Huracán Performante was the stuff of teenage fantasy: $350,000 of aerodynamic metals and lightweight upholstery, packed…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *