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3 tricks for responsible credit card use

Now that you're well on your way to resolving your credit card debt, it's time to start considering strategies that will help you never get into this problem again. This article will cover three simple things you can do to stay financially responsible and avoid spending money that you don't have.

Three strategies for avoiding credit card debt problems:

A 3-step process to getting out of credit card debt

We all want to get out of credit card debt, but the idea can seem daunting. There are some things that you can do, however, which will help you get out of debt over time. The following three-step process can work, if you have a steady income, if you're diligent and if you stick to the process without wavering over time.

The first step involves using cash or your debit card instead of credit cards. You can even try using PayPal if you need to buy something online. Prepaid cards are also useful for this purpose. The cash-only system will help you not rack up any additional credit card debt. To ensure this is realistic, you need to build up some savings for emergency expenses.

How will I benefit from Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

If you have a steady income, you might be a candidate for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves the consolidation of outstanding debt. It also involves the consolidation of monthly payment obligations into one single bill. All of this is done in accordance with a court-approved Chapter 13 repayment plan that is designed to make your debt more manageable, while resolving any debt that remains following the term of the repayment plan.

A Chapter 13 payment plan is specifically tailored to your income and debt limitations. The bankruptcy court will take into consideration how much money you make each month and determine what you can reasonably afford to pay on a monthly basis over a period of three to five years. After that three- to five-year period, if you make your monthly payments religiously and on time, the bankruptcy court will dissolve the remaining debts that are covered under the bankruptcy.

Are you being harassed by creditors about unpaid debts?

You would think they'd go away eventually, but when your credit card company sells your debt to a debt collection agency, they can be relentless. They'll call your family members, and even embarrass you at your work. You might try to change your phone number and other details, but they'll still find you.

Needing to constantly screen your calls can be exhausting. It can also be anxiety-producing to know that so many people are trying to get at what very little money you have. They might threaten to file a lawsuit, which you're worried that you can't afford to defend, or they might threaten to garnish your wages. It just doesn't stop; that is, not until you file for bankruptcy. Regardless if Chapter 13 bankruptcy or Chapter 7 bankruptcy are more appropriate for your situation, as soon as you file, you'll get protection from creditor harassment by way of an "automatic stay."

Credit card debt surpasses $1 trillion in the United States

It might seem hard to believe, but credit card debt in the United States has surpassed $1 trillion. This is the highest amount of credit card debt since its peak during the recession in 2008.

To put $1 trillion into perspective. Imagine a stack of $1 trillion worth of one dollar bills. This stack would be 67,866 miles tall, which means that it would extend about a fourth of the distance between the earth and the moon. How's that for a lot of one dollar bills?

Is a credit card company garnishing your wages?

It's easy for credit card bills to get out of control. It either happens because of an emergency that you can't avoid, or it happens because you charged too many bills on your credit card. If your credit card bills get so bad that you can't pay them anymore, you might get your wages garnished.

Wage garnishment is difficult to deal with -- especially if you're already living on the edge financially. Fortunately, if your wages are being garnished in King County, a bankruptcy lawyer might be able to help.

What kinds of Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions are available?

Although many King County residents may believe so, Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings do not involve the liquidation of all your property. You'll be able to retain much of your personal property -- if not the vast majority of it -- due to the fact that a lot of your property will be exempt.

Bankruptcy is not intended to leave you with no possessions. Indeed, this would be contrary to its purpose of helping you get back on sound financial feet again. As such, through various exemptions, you'll be able to retain the possession you need to do your job, live in your home and go about your daily life.

Why you should use your tax return to pay your credit card debt

If you are like many Americans, you probably have some amount of credit card debt that you're carrying, and you need to make payments on that debt every month. If something happens that results in a break in your income, you could find yourself in serious debt trouble fast.

For this reason, you may want to consider using the money received for your income tax refund to help pay off your credit cards. It is better to use that extra cash to pay down your interest-accruing debt than to leave it sitting in a bank account.

Ask and you shall receive: How to save money on credit card fees

There's a great saying, that will take you far in the world of debt management, "It doesn't hurt to ask." Indeed, when it comes to credit card debt, credit card late payment fees, and credit card interest rates, you might be surprised what your credit card company will give you if you merely ask. A new survey shows that a significant percent of people who ask their credit card companies for a lower interest rate or a lower fee will get their requests approved.

Amazingly, in a recent survey by a major credit card news reporting agency, eight in 10 people said that when they called their credit card company for a decrease in their annual fees, late charges and other costs got what they asked for. The survey compiled information from questionnaires given to 900-plus credit card holders.

Late on your credit card bill? Here's what happens

Nobody plans to pay their credit card bills late. It's just what happens either as a result of forgetfulness, or because you don't have enough money to make the payment. However, if you have a credit card, you should know that late payments can result in serious consequences -- not only for your credit card balance, but also for your credit card rating.

Let's say you wait 30 days after the due date to pay your credit card bill. Usually, this will result in a fee of up to $35. You might also get a note about the late fee and the reason for it on your credit report. Your APR on new purchases could also be increased.

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