Debt Counseling
Debt

Surviving the Holiday Spending Trap With Debt Counseling

After the school season starts, many people start getting ready for the holidays. Following Labor Day, the major holidays that often run up debt for the average American include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. By receiving debt counseling in the fall, you gain valuable insights and information about how to pay off debt, budget, and set financial goals. You may decide to enroll in a debt management program so you can get a fresh start. A debt management plan is an agreement to pay back creditors, but typically with better terms. In most cases, you pay less money toward interest and pay off your debt much faster by consolidating the debt. To save money for the holiday season, consider consolidating old debt while resisting the temptation to take on any new debt. According to an article by marketwatch.com, one of the best way to tackle holiday credit card debt is to lower your interest rate. Talk to a credit counselor about how you can pay a lower interest rate by consolidating debt.

Living below your Financial Means

One of the lessons you learn with debt counseling is to live below your means. By having a budget, you know exactly what you owe to creditors, what you owe to the mortgage company or your landlord as well as how much you have for discretionary spending. Buying holiday gifts or costumes for Halloween and other parties is not a necessity. However, you can put aside money for gifts as long as you save some money for discretionary purchases. Living below your means does not mean you can’t spend money on others, but it’s about spending less than you earn.

Figuring out how much your time is worth

Another way to improve your financial situation is figuring out when you should do something yourself or when you should hire another person. If you can earn more money working at your career, it could make financial sense to pay someone else to clean your house, mow your lawn or cook for you. On other hand, you also have to think about your core values as well as hobbies. If you get exercise from mowing and love the outdoors, it’s more than a financial decision. When it comes to the holidays, save money by making your own costumes if it makes sense. If you earn a lot by working, consider hiring someone else to put up your holiday lights or deliver your Christmas tree.

Spending time and not money with family

If you are having trouble balancing your budget, avoid hosting holiday parties or buying a lot of gifts for others. Taking holiday trips also tends to run up credit cards. On the other hand, if you consolidate your debt prior to the holidays, you will have a firm grasp on how much money you have leftover in your monthly budget after paying on your debt management plan.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

    Full Name (required)

    Email (required)

    Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

    Type the code below in the text box. (required)
    captcha


    CCCc2abutton

    ​Read More
    Debt Consolidation
    Debt Consolidation

    Benefits of Debt Consolidation and Bumps of Bankruptcy

    If you have more credit card debt than you can handle, there are different avenues to take to resolve the burden. Some people turn to debt settlement scams because they aren’t aware of the negative consequences. Other people believe bankruptcy could be the solution. Before paying an attorney thousands of dollars to handle a bankruptcy case, save yourself the embarrassment and money by receiving debt counseling. A certified credit counselor will help you understand the key benefits of debt consolidation. Sometimes it is helpful to examine all of the options. If you have a lot of debt, you already know how stressful it is to function day-to-day knowing your credit cards could be declined. By choosing debt consolidation, you leave open a lot of doors for your financial future. According to an article by theglobaldispatch.com, there are distinct advantages to signing up for a debt management plan through a reputable credit counseling agency.

    A single Monthly Payment

    Most people who feel overwhelmed by credit card debt have more than one credit cards. When you sign up for a debt management plan, you only make one payment each month to satisfy your creditors. You no longer have to worry about misplacing bills or keeping up with the various due dates.

    Less Financial stress

    Juggling several different credit card bills is a source of stress for the average American. With a debt management plan, you can automate your monthly payment so you know you’ll pay the bill on time each month. If you have your paycheck automatically deposited into your checking account, it’s another way to simplify your finances.

    Lower Interest Rates

    Another major advantage of debt consolidation is the fact that you’ll likely pay a lower interest rate. If you are the typical person, you likely have credit cards with double-digit interest rates. Your credit counselor will talk to your creditors to negotiate a lower interest rate across the board. When your counselor helps you achieve a lower interest rate, it saves you hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars depending on your total amount owed.

    No collection calls

    Once you get on board with a plan, your credit card companies will no longer bother you with collection calls. If you do receive a collection call, just give them the information about your debt management plan.

    A better credit score

    With bankruptcy, your credit score takes a major hit. In some cases, lenders will not approve you for a home loan or car for several years. When you take a debt consolidation approach, your credit score starts to go up instead of down. It’s a smart way to repair a damaged credit score.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

      Full Name (required)

      Email (required)

      Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

      Type the code below in the text box. (required)
      captcha


      CCCc2abutton

      ​Read More
      Debt Consolidation
      Debt Consolidation

      Debt Consolidation to Recover from Summer Overspending

      A lot of people go on summer vacations to the beach, visit theme parks or dine out more frequently during the warmer months. Overspending in the summer often leads to massive credit card debt. When getting a second job or cutting back on day-to-day spending doesn’t put a dent in what you owe, consider debt consolidation. According to an article by hngn.com, it’s common for people to splurge in the summer. A survey by Experian shows a lot of Americans run up credit card debt in the summer. If you don’t tackle your debt as soon as possible, you could end up in a worse predicament during the holidays. By getting on a debt management plan before the holidays roll around, you will already have a financial survival plan in place. Part of consolidating your debt is receiving general credit counseling so you budget and plan for vacations, gifts and summer camps.

      Hold off on using Credit Cards

      When you consolidate debt, you hold off on using credit cards until you pay off your debt. A trained credit counselor will help you deal with your creditors. In many cases, your creditors will drop any late charges and penalties as part of the debt management plan. With credit counseling advice, you will have no problem living without credit cards. Since you know what the payoff date is for your debt management plan, you can plan better for the future.

      Budget for Different Scenarios

      Your budget while on a debt management plan is not exactly the same as your budget after you pay off your credit card debt. With the plan, you make one monthly debt repayment. Most people take the same amount for their monthly debt management bill and automatically move it into an emergency savings or retirement saving fund. Once you learn to live on less than your full paycheck, you don’t miss the money. Some experts believe the key to success is automation. Set it up so your debt management plan payment gets deducted automatically each month. Once you can afford it, set up an automatic contribution to a 401(k) or other retirement plan.

      Plan for next summer

      Even if you went too far with spending this year, you don’t need to repeat the spending cycle every year. Break the pattern by going on a “stay-vacation” next year in which you check out the local sites and attractions for less money. Visit relatives who will provide complimentary accommodations or let you stay in their home. You can also plan ahead for next summer by finding deals for airline tickets and other deals. Another option is to vacation during the off-season.

      By consolidating your debt and adopting good financial habits in fall, you prevent an even greater problem of relying on credit cards to get through the holiday gift-giving season. Although spending for the holidays is fine, it is best to plan and save.

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

        Full Name (required)

        Email (required)

        Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

        Type the code below in the text box. (required)
        captcha


        CCCc2abutton

        ​Read More
        Credit Counseling
        Credit Counseling

        Credit Counseling: A Strategic Guide for Paying Off Debt

        If you are thinking about receiving credit counseling to deal with a debt burden that’s too heavy for you to carry, consider working with trained counselors who know how to help you change. According to an article by forbes.com, there are steps you can take so you aren’t enslaved to debt. When you deal with a reputable Christian credit counseling agency, you know any actions you take aligned with your core values and beliefs. For many Christians, it is important to pay what they owe. Debt consolidation lets you pay what you owe so you don’t have past obligations holding you back from your future. The U.S. Federal Reserve reports that most Americans carry about $15,000 worth of credit card debt. Living paycheck-to-paycheck has a negative impact on your psychological well-being, career, physical health and relationships. It is exhausting to owe money you can pay back to creditors. However, you can follow a step-by-step plan to a debt-free life.

        Face the Financial Facts

        One way to motivate yourself and make a change is by facing the facts and dealing with your financial reality. If you don’t choose 100 percent transparency with a spouse or relative, get real with yourself. You will likely feel comfortable laying out all of your debt as you engage in credit counseling with a trained and non-judgmental counselor.

        List all of your Bills

        In addition to facing the facts of how much money you owe in terms of credit card debt, you also need to know about your monthly financial obligations. List all of the fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, phone, cable and insurance. Make a list of all your flexible living expenses including food. As part of credit counseling, you use the information to formulate a realistic budget and debt management plan.

        Lower your Interest Rate

        When you sign up for a debt management plan, you end up with allies who go to bat to lower your interest rates on credit cards. The reason debt consolidation works so well for thousands of people is because you can pay off your credit card debt a lot faster with a lower interest rate.

        Choose a Payment Method

        You can choose different methods for paying off debt. The advantage of debt consolidation is you benefit from the psychological and emotional satisfaction of getting out of debt 80 percent faster than other methods. Also, you feel good knowing your fulfilled your promise to pay back what you owed. If you declared personal bankruptcy or chose debt settlement methods instead of credit counseling, you would likely feel like a failure or person lacking integrity.

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

          Full Name (required)

          Email (required)

          Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

          Type the code below in the text box. (required)
          captcha


          CCCc2abutton

          ​Read More
          Christian Credit Counselors
          Christian Credit Counselors

          Debt Free Living

          One of the most important steps in Christian Credit Counseling is developing a plan for getting and staying out of debt. Obviously, your current income isn’t enough to support your lifestyle. You’ve borrowed money to make up the difference, but paying it back has become a big problem. The first step to getting out of debt is cutting your current expenses and making paying creditors a priority. Once you’re used to living on a more restricted budget, you might be surprised by how many things you can live without.

          Step One: Look for Expensive “Extras”

          There are plenty of bills that many people take for granted that might not be absolutely necessary. For example, do you have an expensive cable bill each month? How often are you really using your cable package? If the bulk of your television watching is mindless, “I don’t really care what’s on, but I want to watch something,” you can get Netflix or Amazon Prime for a much lower monthly cost than paying for cable every month. What about your cell phone bill? Do you and your kids really need those expensive smart phones with all the bells and whistles? Consider reducing your data package to a minimum amount and only using your apps or browsing the internet when you’re connected to WiFi. You’ll be surprised by how many locations make it available to their customers! Then, there’s your gym membership. If you don’t go to the gym several times a week, you’re probably better off working out at home. Look to see when your contract is up or if you can reduce to a lower-cost membership.

          Step Two: Reduce Your Bills

          Look for ways to conserve water and electricity in your home. Try contacting your utility companies and asking them about ways to reduce your bill. Some places will be willing to offer you a better plan, especially if you have multiple providers in your area.

          Next, take a hard look at your food budget. Food is definitely a necessity, not a luxury, but you may be surprised by some ways that you’re spending far more than necessary on food. Eating out is the obvious example: if you eat out two or three times a week, you’re draining your food budget fast. The biggest food budget buster, however, might already be in your fridge: waste. Take a hard look at what is actually being consumed in your home. Are you throwing out more fruit than your kids actually eat? Do you have great plans for all those fresh vegetables, but find yourself tossing them out at the end of the month uneaten? Cutting back your food budget in this area is simple: don’t buy what your family won’t actually consume. Set your hopes for healthier eating aside and focus on a more realistic view of your family’s consumption.

          Step Three: “Need” vs “Want”

          Your daughter grew three inches over the summer. She needs new clothes for school. She wants all the name brand clothes that the kids at school are currently wearing. Your son needs a new pair of shoes because his are tattered. He wants the expensive ones with all the bells and whistles. It’s easy to identify the difference in your kids, but it might be harder to identify it in yourself. You need new work clothes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to shop at the most expensive store in town. Checking out sales and discount stores might take a little longer, but it will be a lot easier on your wallet in the long run. You need to take care of expensive car repairs in order to keep your vehicle running, but you might be able to wait on some cosmetic issues or some concerns that don’t actually affect the vehicle’s ability to get you from one place to another. Make it a habit to avoid giving in to wants until you have taken the time to save up for them and carefully consider what you really need out of your purchase. In the end, your choice might surprise you.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

            Full Name (required)

            Email (required)

            Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

            Type the code below in the text box. (required)
            captcha


            CCCc2abutton

            ​Read More
            Debt Consolidation
            Debt Consolidation

            Debt Consolidation: How Much Do You Really Owe?

            Don’t get Buried in Borrowing

            When you’re in the habit of borrowing money to pay for regular expenses, it becomes easy to justify pulling out your credit card. “It’s just a hundred dollars. I can have that paid off in no time.” “Oh, but I really want to have this now, even though payday is still a week away.” “Well, I’ll just pay the minimum amount this month. I’ll take care of more next month.”

            The Average American Debt

            Do these statements sound familiar? Debt adds up in small amounts over time. Most people don’t routinely charge purchases worth several thousand dollars to their credit cards, and yet among debt-carrying American households, credit card debt is estimated to be an average of $15,000.

            This means that many Americans are carrying a greater debt than they realize or intended. It adds up in small amounts and continues to be paid out in small amounts. There’s a thousand dollars owed on this store credit card. The card you use for groceries when you run a little bit short, or gas at the end of the month, has a few thousand on it, since you’ve gotten behind on payments. The card that you only use for “emergencies” has a thousand or two on it from the last car repair. You’re paying on all of these cards each month, but they’re spread out across the month so that you aren’t forced to look at the true amount of the debt.

            The number might surprise you. Not only that, looking at that number all at once forces you to acknowledge how long it will really take you to pay off your current debt. If you assume an average household income of around $50,000 per year to go with your $15,000 of debt, it would take almost a third of your income for a year to pay off your debt. When you factor in your other bills–a car loan, for example, or the mortgage on your home–debt may be taking up more of your income than you can afford to lose.

            Debt Consolidation

            In many cases, debt consolidation is a wake-up call. It helps you to see what you really owe and make more responsible choices in the future. You don’t want your debt to outweigh your income, and transitioning to a simpler lifestyle is well worth the effort to help you get out of debt and stay that way.

            Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

              Full Name (required)

              Email (required)

              Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

              Type the code below in the text box. (required)
              captcha


              CCCc2abutton

              ​Read More
              Debt Counseling
              Debt

              Debt Counseling, Credit Card Debt, and Retirement

              Some seniors use credit cards as a way to fund their travels in retirement, while others use them just to get their basics needs met. By receiving debt counseling you can prevent the senior credit card trap in the future. Young people who talk to trained credit counselors often learn the basic personal finance rules that help them save for retirement. According to a recent article by thestreet.com, many members of Generation X and the baby boomer generation worry about a cloudy financial future due to credit card debt. Even if you are under the age of 40, you can adopt better savings habits now as well as eliminate debt with a debt consolidation approach.

              Changing your view of Money

              Experts say one reason credit card debt will darken retirement for many senior is the fact that people no longer view debt as “abnormal.” By accepting massive credit card debt as perfectly normal, you reduce the odds of living a debt-free life. Successful savers pay off their credit card balance each month while simultaneously putting money aside for the future. They don’t pay interest because they have money in savings to pay any unexpected charges. A certified credit counselor helps you crunch the numbers so you can also build up a financial cushion.

              Feeling embarrassed about Debt

              When you receive Christian credit counseling, no one will shame you for your financial situation. In fact, most people open to debt counseling experience a total release of embarrassment and shame attached to failure because they are making a bold move toward success. Experts say the stigma of being in debt no longer exists with half of the people older than age 40 saying credit cards are survival tools.

              Escaping the Downward Spiral

              When you have a lot of credit card debt, it quickly impacts your future. Someone who has $20,000 saved up for retirement can’t get ahead when they can’t pay off high interest rate credit cards. Instead of giving up, the positive solution is to consolidate debt at a lower interest rate. By the time you enter retirement, you could have zero credit card debt and tens of thousands saved in a 401(k) or Roth IRA.

              If you are afraid of credit card debt in retirement, consider debt counseling. A debt management plan lets you avoid bankruptcy. Some seniors fall prey to predatory debt settlement scams and programs that promise you will be debt free tomorrow. With some hard word, education, budgeting, planning, saving and paying on a debt management plan, you can enjoy a brighter retirement. By the time you retire, your personal finances will be a blessing instead of a curse.

              Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

                Full Name (required)

                Email (required)

                Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

                Type the code below in the text box. (required)
                captcha


                CCCc2abutton

                ​Read More
                Debt Consolidation
                Debt Consolidation

                Debt Consolidation and Credit Card Debt Responsibility

                Financial experts say some Americans are becoming more responsible with credit card debt. One of the secrets of taking responsibility for your consumer debt without going broke is to consolidate credit card debt at a lower interest rate. With the help of trained professionals at a Christian credit counseling organization, you can fulfill your obligations to creditors while enjoying your life with debt consolidation. According to a recent article by npr.org, the Great Recession changed some consumers’ financial habits.

                Stop the credit card carry over

                The National Federation for Credit Counseling reports that one-third of households move credit card debt from one month to the next. To get going with debt consolidation, you sign up for a debt management plan through a reputable credit counseling agency. Because you pay your monthly debt management plan payment, there is no credit card debt carried over from month to month.

                Streamline your Finances

                While engaged in debt consolidation, you will likely cease to use credit cards. If you have never managed finances without credit cards, the practice will strengthen your resolve to stay out of debt and find other positive ways to finance your lifestyle. Some ideas include saving up money in an emergency account, contribution to a Roth IRA and selling items you don’t need when you need cash. When you complete a debt management plan, consider owning fewer than three credit cards. Pay off your balance each month while continuing good savings and budgeting habits.

                Spending less, but living more

                When you feel spiritually and emotionally enriched, you are less likely to seek material possessions to fill a void in your life. In the fall, many families spend money on back-to-school shopping. A survey by Deloitte discovered consumers plan to cut back on back-to-school spending. Even though a debt consolidation plan often frees up more money in your budget, you will feel happy without overspending. Budgeting and prioritizing helps you separate the back-to-school shopping necessities or needs versus the wants.

                Other ways to become more responsible with your finances is by dividing your money up between different goals. Some people put 10 percent aside for charity. Other people make sure they save at least 10 to 30 percent for retirement or the future. You have complete power over how you spend and save. By paying your debt back and avoiding bankruptcy and debt settlement scams, you protect your family and financial future.

                Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

                  Full Name (required)

                  Email (required)

                  Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

                  Type the code below in the text box. (required)
                  captcha


                  CCCc2abutton

                  ​Read More
                  Debt Counseling
                  Debt

                  Debt Counseling Boosts Financial Literacy

                  Even if you are no longer in school, you can still learn helpful financial lessons and improve your “grade” in personal finance through debt counseling. According to a recent article by nerdwallet.com, 2 out of 5 Americans say they would earn a C, D or F if someone graded them on their personal finance knowledge. The article cited a survey on financial literacy. If you have more credit card debt than you can comfortably manage or are barely able to make the minimum payment on credit cards, consider lessons many people learn from their credit card debt. A certified and trained credit counselor will work with you one-on-one to educate, inform, guide and teach you about budgeting and boosting your credit score.

                  Understanding future consequences

                  Some people fail to realize the debt they take out at an earlier stage of life can easily affect their opportunities later in life. If you ruin your credit score by declaring personal bankruptcy when you are in your late 20s, you will likely have a difficult time buying a home in your early 30s. Having too much credit card debt often affects the debt-to-income ratio used when qualifying for a home. Credit card debt also affects your ability to afford rent, a car and miscellaneous expenses. By receiving debt counseling, you lay the foundation for a better financial future.

                  Setting priorities and goals

                  Another benefit of debt counseling is receiving clarity about your priorities and goals. According to the nerdwallet.com article, it is important to understand how buying low priority items you don’t value often prevents you from affording purchases that hold more importance or meaning. In other words, it is not smart to use credit cards to fill up your home with a lot of stuff you don’t even value.

                  Achieving a life, not a lifestyle

                  If you used credit cards to achieve a certain lifestyle, you could be missing out stability and security in life. It is not smart to use credit cards to impress other people only to sacrifice your own financial security as credit card debt spins out of control. With credit counseling, you learn how to manage your life instead of faking a lifestyle. Many people decide to consolidate debt so they pay off their debt in a set number of months. When reaching out for debt counseling, ask about how a debt management plan makes it easy for you to fulfill your financial responsibilities.

                  Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

                    Full Name (required)

                    Email (required)

                    Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

                    Type the code below in the text box. (required)
                    captcha


                    CCCc2abutton

                    ​Read More
                    Christian Credit Counseling
                    Christian Credit Counselors

                    Christian Credit Counseling and Your Money

                    Some people have a negative attitude about money even though managing personal finances benefits family and the overall society. According to a recent piece by time.com, there are 10 characteristics of people with zero debt. When you get Christian credit counseling, you might not adopt all 10 habits immediately, but you begin a transformation that results in a debt-free life. By consolidating credit debt and enrolling in a debt management plan with the help of a trained Christian credit counselor, you people more like those people who seem to have complete control of their finances. The article by time.com points out it is never too late to achieve financial freedom, which is the goal of the accredited counselors at Christian Credit Counseling. While there is no one trait that makes a person financially successful, there are several characteristics of debt-free people worth adopting.

                    Becoming more detail-oriented

                    One positive characteristic of people with a positive relationship with money is attention to detail. With Christian credit counseling, you pay attention to every penny that you spend. You know exactly how much you’ll owe each month for a debt management plan payment to creditors and how much you’ll have to spend on different bills and priorities.

                    Earning dividends instead of owing

                    People who owe a lot of money in credit card debt sacrifice future earnings. When you consolidate debt as part of credit counseling, you lower the amount of money you owe in interest. With the money you save, you can invest so that you earn dividends, profits or interest for a wealthier future.

                    Making practical decisions

                    Experts say people who are prudent with money are pragmatic. They avoid brand names to save money. They aren’t interested in impressing others.

                    Other important debt-free habits include living within your means or becoming more self-reliant and believing in personal responsibility. When you enroll in a debt management plan, you take responsibility for your credit card debt. Through Christian credit counseling, you pay back your creditors as part of the debt management plan. Although the pursuit of material possessions is not inherently evil, debt-free people tend to live simple lives that don’t require material excess for happiness.

                    At Christian Credit Counselors, we don’t judge our clients. Rather, we provide a safe and positive place to receive debt counseling and other education and services. We help people get out of debt quickly and with no stress. For more information about Christian credit counseling and how it can change you life, please contact us.

                    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

                      Full Name (required)

                      Email (required)

                      Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

                      Type the code below in the text box. (required)
                      captcha


                      CCCc2abutton

                      ​Read More