How To Get Out of Debt and Reach Financial Freedom

Tips to Get Out of Debt this Year

How to Reach Financial Freedom this Year

by Dan Gamez

This story originally ran on on December 29, 2016

Is reducing your debt a part of your new year’s resolution? According to NerdWallet, “the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16,061, and the average household with any kind of debt owes $132,529, including mortgages.” That means most Americans could benefit from tips to get out of debt in the new year. The idea of really taking a close look at your finances can be scary, especially right after holiday spending. If you are truly committed to getting out of debt in the new year and staying out of debt, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Tips To Get Out Of Debt In The New Year

  1. Assess the Holiday Damage. According to Forbes, holiday sales this year are expected to exceed $1 trillion. You can bet that much of that spending is done with credit cards. It can be downright painful to look at the credit card statement in January, but you must. Before you can move on, you must know what you owe and have a plan to pay it off.
  2. Make a Budget. Perhaps you made a budget for your holiday spending, as we suggested in our “Holiday Money Saving Tips” blog. Whether you stuck to it or not, it’s time to get real. First, you need to know how much income you bring in each month. Make a list of your average monthly expenses including how much you think you can realistically pay off per month on your credit card debt. Don’t forget to put some money aside in savings each month.
  3. Transfer Credit Card Balances if You Can. Some credit card companies, like Chase’s Slate card, offer a 0% interest rate on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. Transfer your balances on high interest credit cards to an interest free (or lower interest) card. Be sure to not close your old credit cards with the high interest though, as this could give your credit score a hit.
  4. Use the Snowball Method for Paying off Credit Cards. Make a list of all of your debts. Pay off the smallest debts first. Then once the smaller debts are paid off, you can put that money toward paying off your larger debts.
  5. Consider Debt Settlement to Greatly Reduce Credit Card Debt. Through a debt settlement a negotiation is reached with your creditor to reduce the overall amount that you owe. That debt can then be paid off in a lump sum, or over a period of time in a payment plan. Your credit card company would rather receive a reduced amount from you than have you declare bankruptcy and receive nothing. If you chose this route, make sure you go with a debt relief attorney with successful experience in debt settlement. Do not use a debt relief “company”, as they are often accused of scamming their customers.

Story originally published on Daniel R. Gamez is a debt relief attorney licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. To submit a debt relief success story or a debt relief question, email Follow Daniel on Twitter @gamezlawfirm.