Debt Counseling
Budgeting, Credit Counseling, Credit Score, Debt, Finance, Holiday Tips

Debt Counseling and Holiday Credit Card Debt

Debt Counseling and Christmas

Most people love spending money on their family and friends, wrapping presents with shiny bows and watching their expressions as they open gifts. However, Christmas is a bittersweet holiday for people with excessive credit card debt. By seeking debt counseling before or after the holidays, you take control of your holiday credit card debt.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, many shoppers experience the shopping hangover after major shopping days such as Black Friday. Even if you shop on major sale days, you don’t get ahead by using credit cards if you can’t pay them back. Revolving credit card debt is at the highest level it has been in several years, according to the Federal Reserve. Debt counseling gives you an edge so you start the New Year on the right path.

Credit Card Debt Repayment

If you can only afford to pay the suggested amount due or minimum due, you will benefit from debt consolidation. By receiving debt counseling, you find out how to budget to pay back all of your credit debt as well as monthly bills and expenses. With a debt repayment plan, you figure out how to get out of credit card debt for good.

By consolidating debt you pay off credit card debt and satisfy your creditors. If you take a different approach such as using a balance transfer credit card, you could end up running up even more credit card debt. Debt counseling helps many consumers overcome the temptation to keep putting items on credit instead of setting the credit cards aside.

Credit Counseling and your Finances

If you just want a short-term fix, pay your minimum balance or transfer credit card balances to a new credit card. However, experts say most credit cards charge a 3 percent transfer fee. Also, paying the minimum amount doesn’t lower your interest rate. A credit counselor helps you actually lower the interest you pay on your credit card debt so you pay it all off in less time. A long-term fix is about examining your spending habits, learning how to boost a credit score and budgeting. Many consumers fall into traps. You can change your spending and savings habits with a few simple personal finance tricks.

Although the holidays are all about giving, it is a good time to treat yourself to debt counseling. With a proper budget, you can buy loved ones holiday gifts and avoid lingering debt.

 

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.

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    Debt Consolidation
    Debt Consolidation

    Debt Consolidation Instead of Dipping into Your Savings

    Saving Money for your Savings Account

    When it comes to credit card debt, some experts recommend dipping into your non-retirement savings to pay off your debt. However, people without adequate emergency savings rarely stop the cycle of credit card dependence.

    With a debt consolidation plan, you are more likely to get out of credit card debt for good. A trained credit counselor works to lower your interest rate, giving you a solid debt management plan with a target payoff date so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Tapping cash reserves is often risky because your credit card company could choose to close your account or lower your credit limit. If you are dealing with an unexpected financial emergency, it pays to have at least three to six months of living expenses set aside in a liquid account. Some consumers choose debt consolidation as a way to get rid of debt, but aren’t sure how to handle their savings goals and habits.

    Finances for the Future

    According to a Journal of Family and Economic issues study, people with household debt often feel depressed. By lowering debt and boosting savings, you improve your mood and outlook on life. Debt consolidation helps you get out of debt, which is especially important for people who are single, ages 51 to 64 and without a college degree, the study found.

    Saving More Money

    In addition to saving more money now by lowering your interest rate on credit cards, debt consolidation helps you lay a better financial foundation for the future. After you complete your debt management plan, you can shuffle the money used to pay off credit cards to beef up your emergency fund. It is also a good idea to set at least 10 percent of your income aside for retirement savings.

    With help from a Christian credit counseling agency, you repay your debt to meet obligations and set yourself free from negative guilt and remorse. Many people who complete a debt management plan feel motivated to advance in a career or save more for the future because of the fresh start and feeling of gratification and completion. In some cases, you pay off credit card debt 80 percent faster with debt consolidation compared to other financial strategies.

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      [button shape=”rounded” size=”regular” float=”none” circle=”true” href=”https://christiancreditcounselors.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Budgeting-Handouts.pdf” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Free Work Sheet[/button]

       

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      Debt Counseling
      Debt

      Debt Counseling for First-Time Credit Card Holders

      Credit Cards and Financial Predicaments

      If you are a first-time credit card holder, you likely viewed the card as a vehicle for getting you where you needed to go in life. Whether you used your credit card to pay for a new computer, clothes or vacation, the idea of maxing out a credit card scares many new card users. By receiving debt counseling you can prevent a financial predicament as well as solve the problem of runaway debt. A recent article by cnbc.com suggests using the card to build up a good and solid credit card history. By talking to a trained and certified credit counselor, you learn what makes up a good credit report as well as ways to budget and plan for financial emergencies.

      Mounting Debt

      Experts say one of the reasons young credit card holders face a mountain of debt is because they associate a lot of fun and pleasure with credit card use. It is fun to swipe a credit card as opposed to parting with cash. To overcome the challenge, seek debt counseling. Budgeting, saving and planning is often fun when you get creative about your goals. For example, reward yourself with a special reward for staying on budget or meeting savings targets. Plan a major reward for yourself after completing a debt management plan to pay off all your credit card debt.

      Lowering Credit Card Interest Rates

      Many first-time credit card holders feel duped into credit cards with high interest rates. Instead of feeling helpless, rely on a Christian credit counseling agency to negotiate lower interest rates with your creditors. High interest rates of 18 percent or higher are not uncommon, but you can realistically achieve a lower rate by consolidating your debt.

      Monitoring Your Credit Report

      With debt counseling, you also learn how to monitor your credit report. When you become aware of what makes up a good credit score and report, you take the action steps to improve your situation. A good credit score affects your ability to buy a home, take out a car loan as well as get a job in some cases. Misusing credit cards is a common predicament but a credit counselor provides non-judgmental guidance.

       

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        [button shape=”rounded” size=”regular” float=”none” circle=”true” href=”https://christiancreditcounselors.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Budgeting-Handouts.pdf” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Free Work Sheet[/button]

         

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        Debt Counseling
        Credit Counseling, Debt

        Debt Counseling – When Financial Problems Sneak up On You

        Signs of Financial Trouble

        Past due statements, accounts closed without you and payments that reflect the minimum due are of few of the red flags that you need debt counseling. If financial problems are sneaking up on you, the best solution is to confront your reality and take positive steps to remedy the situation. According to a piece by cheatsheet.com, there is nothing to feel ashamed about if you have credit card debt that is higher than you realized.

        Relying on your credit card too often is an innocent habit that turns into a larger problem if left unchecked. Instead of remaining in denial, consider the signs of financial trouble. By enrolling in a debt management plan through a Christian credit counseling agency, you turn a negative into a positive situation. When you are completely debt free, every purchase you make will feel sweeter because you can afford the item.

        Borrowing money from others

        If you borrow money from family and friends, it can either be a positive or negative sign. Some people borrow money or take financial gifts from relatives so they can avoid running up credit cards. If you have to pay back a friend or relative, it can strain the relationship. Also, if you turn to friends or family because you have already maxed out your other sources of loans and credit, it is a major financial mistake.

        Dealing with bill collectors

        Another warning sign you your financial problems are interfering with your life is when you receive calls from bill collectors. With the help of a trained and accredited credit counseling agency, you don’t need to worry about bill collectors. A credit counselor talks to your creditors for you to come up with an agreed upon plan for debt repayment. For you, it’s all about making one monthly payment. For your creditors, it is about making right on money owed to them.

        Credit Cards and Debt

        If you rely on credit cards to pay for the basic necessities such as food and gasoline, it is likely you have too much debt. With debt counseling, you learn how to budget so you spend your paycheck on necessities first. Discretionary purchases include cigarettes, alcohol, entertainment, clothing other than work clothes and luxury items.

        Feeling paycheck dependent

        If you need your paycheck to make your monthly rent or mortgage, it means you don’t have enough in savings to cover one or two months of expenses. With debt counseling, you learn how to save up for emergencies as well as for fun vacations and holidays.

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          [button shape=”rounded” size=”regular” float=”none” circle=”true” href=”https://christiancreditcounselors.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Budgeting-Handouts.pdf” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Free Work Sheet[/button]

           

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          Debt Consolidation
          Debt Consolidation

          Debt Consolidation – Forgiving Yourself of Credit Sins

          Credit Cards and Financial Health

          Misusing credit cards affects your financial health, security and future. You can easily forgive yourself of so-called credit sins by seeking assistance from a Christian credit counseling program. One of the most positive ways to get back on track is with debt consolidation. According to an article by cheatsheet.com, 30 percent of your FICO score relates to how much you owe on credit cards. If your balance gets too high and you can’t pay off the total balance, debt consolidation can help. The key is to stay calm and avoid several credit blunders.

          A Five Step Debt Management Plan

          Creditors and Debt Collectors

          One of the challenges you often have to deal with when you have a high credit card balance is debt collectors and representatives from your credit card companies. By working with a credit counselor, you put the problem in someone’s capable hands. Calls stop after you sign up for a debt management plan because your creditors agree to a specific monthly repayment plan. To get to that positive place, put aside anger.

          Your Personal Finances

          Another credit blunder is refusing to seek personal finance help because of pride. A lot of people seek Christian credit counseling because they don’t want to feel shamed or ridiculed for mistakes. A certified credit counselor with a Christian mindset will give you advice on debt consolidation without judgment.

          Embracing Frugal Finances

          No matter what your situation, you can find new and creative ways to practice frugality. Another credit “sin” is to pay only the minimum balance on a credit card. When you resist the temptation to overspend, you fix the problem instead of exasperating it.

          Credit Cards and Debt Management

          When you agree to a debt management plan to pay off debt, you stop using your old credit cards. It is also important to stop opening up new credit lines. A credit counselor helps you budget, plan and save so you can avoid repeating the same financial mistakes.

          Overcoming Credit Problems with Contentment

          When you find happiness with the things you already own instead of constantly wanting something bigger or better, many of your credit problems disappear. After getting on board with a debt consolidation plan, give yourself some space to feel happy. Instead of soothing your stress and troubles by spending money, find other ways to relax such as a free walk in nature or time with friends and family.

          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.

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            Debt Consolidations
            Debt Consolidation

            Debt Consolidation – Combating Holiday Credit Card Debt

            Setting Financial Goals

            By planning ahead, it’s easy to combat holiday credit card debt that puts you behind with New Year’s resolutions and financial goals. According to an article by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the best approach is to plan ahead to avoid holiday binge buying. By talking to a Christian credit counselor, you learn about debt consolidation. Whether you sign up for a debt management plan before or after the holidays, you will have a strategy in place. Experts say paying off credit card debt is an important step to financial freedom and balance. Depending on your personality, financial habits and goals, the payoff date will differ. Thirty-eight percent of households deal with credit card debt, according to statics by Nerdwallet.com.

            Paying off Credit Card Debt

            One decision to make is whether you want to move around your credit card debt or get it paid off. Balance transfers buy you time if you want to take debt from a high interest credit card and move it to a zero percent card. The downside is the introductory interest rate doesn’t last. Most people get stuck paying an extremely high rate. A better option is debt consolidation through a reputable credit counseling agency such as Christian Credit Counselors. Because holiday shopping occurs typically at the end of the year, you will likely run up an old credit card if you transfer the balance.

            Debt Management and Gift Giving

            When you sign up for a debt management plan before the holidays, you stop using your credit cards. Although it is likely too late in the year to save up a holiday gift fund so you can buy gifts with cash, you can save money by making homemade gifts or providing gift certificates for services such as mowing a loved one’s lawn or back rubs. Your loved ones will likely appreciate a crocheted blanket more than a cash gift because it represents time spent and effort.

            Listening to Financial Experts

            If you accumulated a lot of debt throughout the year, it’s good to step back and evaluate where you have been. Before you get carried away with the holidays, talk to debt consolidation experts. In addition to consolidating debt, you find out how to budget, save, plan, improve your credit score and organize financial matters. Instead of leaning on your own understanding of financial matters, take the bold step to ask for help. A trained credit counselor doesn’t leave it to you to contact your creditors. Instead, the experienced credit counselors contact your creditors and work out a plan so you can pay back your debt. The holiday gift for you is a lower interest rate on what you owe as well as the peace of mind and joy of having a payoff date and realistic monthly payment.

            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.

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              At Christian Credit Counselors, we help our clients with debt consolidation so they get out of debt 80 percent faster than other strategies. For more information on how to financially plan ahead for the holidays, please contact us.

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              Credit Counseling
              Credit Counseling

              Your Credit Score – Tips to Raise it

              Unfortunately, credit is an important part of our life. Good credit is required for so many things, like applying for a car or home loan, applying for a credit card, and even some seemingly unrelated things, like getting a job. If your credit score is lower than average, you’ve probably already found out that life can be a lot harder for someone with a low score. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve your credit score. Of course, there is no overnight fix, but here are a few ways to get started fixing your credit score.

              Pay Everything On Time

              This might be obvious to some, but it’s one of the most important steps to raising and maintaining a credit score. Whether you have bills from credit card companies, banks, or companies that provide anything else like power and water, every time you don’t pay them completely, your score drops a little. If you can’t pay every bill off completely, pay off as much as you can each time. This might also be a good time to talk to a debt counselor, as you may have more trouble than you realize.

              Apply for Credit at the Same Time

              If you do need to apply for credit, for example, a debt consolidation loan, try to complete all of the applications in a relatively short period of time. When the credit agencies notice that you’re applying for credit a large number of times, they assume that you’re applying for multiple lines of credit, which could drop your score. However, as long as the applications are within a shorter period of time, say a month or so, they are more likely to understand that you are simply applying for a single line of credit in multiple places.

              Wait for Good Credit

              This is not the most efficient way to raise your credit score, but it can be helpful to you. Credit agencies only consider activity within the last seven years. This means that even if you have terrible credit now, and you do nothing more than follow the rules of maintaining good credit, such as paying bills on time and keeping a reasonable debt-to-credit ratio, your score will go up by itself over time, and in seven years, you’ll have pristine credit.

              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.

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                Christian Credit Counselors, Credit Score, Debt

                Five Tips to Avoid Damaging Your Credit Score

                Your credit score not only determines your interest rates, but it could also determine your eligibility for that new job you have applied for. Like it or not, your credit score is an important number. Some of the most common questions our clients ask us are, how can they improve, build, and maintain their credit scores?

                Tips to Raise Your Credit Score

                • Pay your accounts on time. When you pay your bills 30 days late it could result in a negative credit reporting and could effective your score.
                • Borrow no more than you can comfortably pay back. Avoid maxing out your credit cards. Limit your utilization to no more than 30% of your available credit. Practice good spending habits by charging something simple like your gas and then paying off the whole balance at the end of the month. This will help you to develop good spending habits while building your credit.
                • Be cautious about co-signing or guaranteeing loans for others. By co-signing or guaranteeing a loan you are a joint account holder and equally responsible for funds owed. Your credit report will also be equally affected by negative reportings.
                • Do not apply for credit you do not need. We know that store retail accounts are tempting with their promotional offers, but when you read the fine print they often have high interest rates. If you choose to do one of those 0% deals for a year, make sure you can pay it off in the time allotted because after the expiration date the interest rate will shoot upwards of 20% which will end up being very costly.
                • Pull and review your credit report annually and dispute inaccurate information. You can pull your credit report from each bureau once per year for free at: annualcreditreport.com. By reviewing your credit report annually, you can catch any inaccurate reporting or suspected identity theft.

                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.

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                  Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debt

                  Debt Consolidation Loans – The Dangers to Consider

                  Dangers of Debt Consolidation Loans

                  If you’re having difficulty meeting your minimum monthly payments on student loans, credit cards, medical bills or other loans, you can apply to financial institutions for a debt consolidation loan to lower monthly payments and interest rate. The bank pays off all your debt and then you have one monthly payment to the bank for the loan consolidation but this will cause even more debt and the potential of high interest rates. Before applying for a debt consolidation loan, consider contacting a credit counselor to discuss better options for debt consolidation.

                  The Expense and Risk of Debt Consolidation Loans

                  Whether you apply to a bank or credit union for debt consolidation loans, the financial institution will lower your monthly payments by extending the length of the loan. Although your monthly payments are lower, you will be paying more in interest because of the longer pay-off term.

                  If you own your own home, you can consolidate your outstanding debt using the equity in your home. This can be risky if you find you cannot keep up with the repayment terms. When deciding on a debt consolidation loan, keep in mind that using the equity in your home could result in the bank taking your home if you can’t meet the payment schedule.

                  Credit Counseling for Debt Consolidation

                  Credit counseling is the best option to get your debt under control without risking your home or trying to pay off a debt consolidation loan for the next 20 or 30 years. Christian Credit Counselors can negotiate with all your creditors to lower your interest rates and stop late fees. Once Christian Credit Counselors works on your behalf you will make 1 monthly payment and Christian Credit Counselors will pay each of your creditors, giving you peace of mind. That’s it, it’s as simple as that! Credit counseling is completely confidential so you don’t have to worry about anyone contacting your place of employment, relatives or friends.

                   

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                    Christian Credit Counselors, Debt

                    Debt Consolidation – Knowing The Facts

                    Bearing the Burden of Debt

                    The burden of debt can weigh heavily on many individuals. While some people misuse credit to get themselves in this type of trouble, others were forced to turn to credit cards and loans to survive. For these individuals, debt consolidation may be the right solution. Determining when to use this process will help you make the correct decision to put your financial future on a positive path.

                    High Balance, High Interest

                    One of the biggest problems with debt is paying high interest on a balance that never seems to go down. If you are using store credit or other forms of credit that often carry high interest rates, speaking with a certified credit counselor can be the right option. He or she can help you decide if consolidating your debt into one monthly payment with a significantly lower interest rate is the right move for your financial situation.

                    Eager to Pay It Off

                    If you are only making the minimum payment and feel as if you aren’t getting anywhere on your balance, you’re probably right. Debt consolidation is designed to help you pay off your debts faster with a lower interest rate. When you follow a debt management plan, you will pay your loans off in as little as five years.

                    No Collateral

                    Collateral can be a major player in the lending game. If you don’t own a home where you can take out a home equity loan to cover your high interest loans or credit cards, you could be paying on them for a long time. Consolidating your debt can help you reduce your payments, even without the help of a home equity loan. Helping you to stop the cycle of debt and get on the road to financial freedom.

                    There are many reasons why individuals seek debt consolidation assistance. If one of these situations describes your current finances, it is time to turn to the professionals. Christian Credit Counselors can help you make the best choices and begin to build a solid foundation for your financial future.

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