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Manage credit card debt in 2015 with these tips

Now that the holidays have come and gone, Tennessee residents may be feeling the pinch financially. Christmas spending, along with unemployment, medical expenses and other financial challenges in 2014 may have left their credit cards maxed out. Resolve to pay off credit card debt this year with these tips.

The most important thing consumers can do is create a budget. By tracking money spent and earned, consumers can find out where exactly their hard-earned money is going. The next step is to take small steps to reduce expenses little by little each month.

One of the most surprising pieces of advice consumers will hear is to pay only the minimum monthly payment on credit cards. The traditional advice was to dump as much money as possible on credit cards to pay them off, so why has that changed? Because consumers should negotiate with credit card companies first before giving in. Many credit card companies will work with consumers by lowering the interest rate or negotiating a settlement - but only if the consumer initiates the conversation.

In order to reduce the amount owed on credit cards, consumers need to stop using them altogether. Cut them up or put them somewhere where they can't be easily accessed. Resolve to pay cash only - or else postpone the purchase.

Debt is common in America nowadays, with many consumers having trouble living within their means. Unexpected life events can put a dent in finances, which can be frustrating. However, with a little hard work and less spending, it's possible to start down the road to financial freedom.

Source: New York Daily News, "Shocker: Defeat debt by paying the minimum on credit cards," William Waldner, Dec. 31, 2014

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