Debt Relief and Marriage

Money and Marriage

Two of the most difficult paths to navigate in our lives are money and marriage, but when done successfully, they can each bring us joy and fulfillment beyond measure. Unfortunately the opposite is true as well. When done poorly, they can bring us pain and misery. That is why it is imperative to plan ahead and seek help if needed.

Just as a marriage filled with emotional struggles and personality imbalance may need the help of a therapist, so can a life filled with debt and bad spending practices need the help of a financial counselor. For over a decade, 50% of marriages end in divorce and 45% of those are due to finances. Sometimes it is the difference in how a couple chooses to value their money, whether one is thrifty and the other frivolous. Other times it is because of placing materialistic goals over financial capability. This inevitable ends in debt. Such a little four letter word can break even the strongest love apart.

Debt may be accrued during marriage for any number of reasons, and it doesn’t always mean poor money handling. Sometimes it is simply life’s curve balls and economics. Debt can also be standing at the altar with you. Currently seven out of ten marriages begin with one or both of the betrothed already in debt. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recently took a poll of single people’s opinions on love and debt, and 54% of them said they would not marry until the debt was paid, marry but not assist in helping to pay their partner’s debt or leave their loved one altogether. This means 46% would marry the person they love and help them pay their debt. It feels good to know that almost half of the individuals still believe that love is greater than money. This thought is not naïve.

As of February, 2015, the Federal Reserve announced that Americans have over 3.34 trillion dollars of consumer debt and nearly $884.8 billion of that is credit card debt. If you want to get married one day and refuse to marry someone with debt, you will be significantly decreasing your choices! Another option is to seek the help of someone like Consumers Alliance and start your marriage on a path of financial success. With highly trained credit counselors and debt management specialists, they can create a plan for your marriage to navigate the risky waters of debt and put you on a solid path to financial freedom.

By placing your debt under a debt management plan, you can lower your current credit card interest rates, set up a realistic payment plan and climb out from under problematic debt without destroying your credit rating. Consumers Alliance counselors will work with you and your partner to establish a goal you can achieve together and help you control any unhealthy spending habits. No matter how you choose to structure the finances in your marriage, strong financial planning is key. Living in a debt free marriage will save years of fighting, misunderstanding and those monthly fees to the couple’s therapist!


4 Tips for Successful Debt Management

Debt Management Tips PiggyManaging debt can seem like quite the task to take on. Many people don’t even know where to begin. Oftentimes, when things seem like are at their worst, people can start feeling like there’s no way to bounce back financially. However, I’ve come up with four tips that can help anyone manage their debt more successfully.

1. Be Organized – A lack of organization could have lead to you being in debt in the first place. That being said, once you’re in debt, organization is quintessential to debt management. Utilizing calendars, planners, organizers, or anything else that will help you make payments on time can be a tremendous help. Additionally, keeping track of paychecks, and keeping strict accounts is also very beneficial. The key to any type of management is organization, and it’s no different with debts.

2. Seek Help If Needed – When trying to manage debt, too many people think they can get through it all by themselves. It never hurts to seek advice from people who have been through things before. Also, if things are bad enough, professional financial help can also be very beneficial. A lot of people find debt consolidation to be extremely effect when trying to manage debt. Remember to not go into anything too hastily, and always read the fine print. Those who are too proud to seek help with their debt management, even if it is needed, usually have further financial difficulties.

3. If Possible, Pay Bills Online – This is my personal preference, and by all means you can continue to deal with checks if you prefer. However, I’ve found that paying bills online can sometimes be much easier, and can help avoid late fees. Whereas with checks, you have to make sure they are in the mail a few days before the due dates, you can sometimes pay bills online the same day. Also, for someone like myself, who finds computers to be a lot easier and more conducive to organization, online payments are the way to go. Rather than worry about filing countless amounts of papers, you can simply put a paperless statement in a folder.

4. Don’t Let Yourself Become Overwhelmed – Staying calm is central to any debt management. Even if the bills are piling up, if you panic, or start to lose focus, things can get much worse. Keeping a clear head and having a defined plan to get out of debt is the best thing to do. This can be accomplished with organization and any help you may feel you need. It’s tremendously difficult to stay organized if you are in panic mode constantly. So remember, just stay calm and focus on the tasks at hand.

So those may only be four tips, but they can significantly help anyone with debt management. Unfortunately, it is generally quite easy to get into debt, but very difficult to get out of debt. The main key to debt management is organization. Paying bills on time and slowly lowering one’s debts requires a significant amount of dedication. Last, but certainly not least, remember to not let yourself become overwhelmed, because that never helps solve debt worries.

Heather P. Johnson is a freelance writer, as well as a contributor for Credit Card Lowdown, a site for finding credit card reviews. Heather invites your comments and freelancing job opportunities at her GMAIL email address.

5 Bad Habits that Lead to Debt Disaster and How to Avoid Them

Debt Hole PictureDebt problems don’t happen overnight. They are the cumulative result of habits that build up over time. Often times, when people find themselves overwhelmed with debt they wish that they could just turn back the clock and change their ways. Instead of lamenting over past mistakes, why not identify problem-causing habits now and stop them in their tracks? Here are five bad habits that you can stop now and save yourself trouble later on.

Bad Habit #1- Trying to Manage Money without a Budget

Budgeting is one of those terms, like dieting, that makes people cringe. But establishing and working with a budget is one of the best ways to keep yourself out of debt. When you have a budget, you know exactly how much money you’ll be spending and where that spending is going. If you see a great sale or want to splurge on something extra, you’ll either know that you can’t or you’ll spend from an allotted amount. When you work without a budget, you may end up spending money that you should have used to buy groceries, get a hair transplant, or buy that new grandfather clock for your home you have been eyeing.  In turn, you end up using a credit card and building up your debt.

Bad Habit #2- Relying on Credit Cards for Daily Expenses

When you use your credit card to buy gas or groceries, like in the above example, you’re actually paying more than you should for those daily expenses. Most people run up their credit cards and then only pay the minimum balance each month. Instead of only paying what you spent, you’ll end up paying up to twice as much.

Bad Habit #3- Making Late Payments on Your Credit Cards

If you’ve found a credit card with a low interest rate, you may be out of luck when you make a late payment. Most credit card companies switch to a penalty APR if you happen to be late on your payment. The penalty APR makes it more difficult to pay off your debts quickly, which can cause you to pay more on your credit cards than you actually owe. In addition, many credit card companies charge a late fee of $29 or more meaning that every time you are late you are digging yourself deeper into debt. Continue reading 5 Bad Habits that Lead to Debt Disaster and How to Avoid Them

Spring Break on a Budget: 4 Tips for the Fiscally Frugal

Spring Break Budget TipsSpring Break is when families get to spend some quality time together, but vacation can sometimes come with a high price tag. A lot of common Spring Break activities, like a visit to an amusement park or a skiing trip, are very expensive. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to have fun with your family during Spring Break without breaking the bank. Here are four easy ways that you can enjoy the sights, sounds and activities of the season without spending a whole lot of dough.

1. Keep your Travel Plans Local – There are probably a dozen different local attractions that you and your family haven’t explored. Staying in your town or traveling no more than an hour away is a great way to save one on gas and other travel related expenses. Taking a day trip means that you can pack sack lunches and keep your other expenses to a minimum. There are probably plenty of activities within driving distance of your hometown, or even within the city itself. Most towns have museums, parks and other destinations that are worth exploring or re-discovering. Pretend you’re a tourist to your area and hit all of the local attractions. It can be fun to introduce your children to places you visited when you first moved to the area, or have always wanted to visit but never have.

2. Spend a Day in the Garden – There’s no better time than this vacation to get the kids outside for a work day in the yard. You can spend a day or two working outside as a family. Have the children select special flowers they want to plant, or create a vegetable garden together that you can enjoy all year long. Other inexpensive outdoor activities can include building a birdhouse or making personalized paving stones. You’ll be able to appreciate and admire the work you and your kids do for months to come. Make sure to reward your children with a special treat after the family work day.

3. At-Home Crafts Camp – Kids of all ages love making crafts and fortunately craft supplies aren’t all that expensive. You can get ideas from websites or books from the library and then purchase your supplies at a dollar store or discount store. With a little planning, you could provide your kids with five to ten projects that will last them all week. At the end of the week, have them display their creations in an art show.

4. Organize a Rotating Group Activity – This idea works best when you have a group of local friends with children the same age as yours. You can all split the week up and each plan a low-cost activity per day. One parent can organize a craft day, another can do a garden day and another host a make your own pizza party. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity and your budget.

With these simple ideas, you and your family can have an enjoyable, and low-cost, Spring Break that won’t break the bank and leave you with cherished family memories for years to come.  In the end, isn’t that what is most important?

America is Drowning in Debt: 5 Tips to Reach the Shore

Piggy Bank sinking in Credit Card DebtAccording to the Federal Reserve, Americans are drowning in debt with a record revolving credit balance of $975.2 million as of the end of 2007.  This works out to around $11,000 to $12,000 in credit card debt for the average household in the United States, a pretty staggering total.  Are you one of the millions of Americans struggling with debt on a monthly basis? Are you hiding it from a loved one or spouse scared of what he or she may say or just plain embarrassed?  You’re not alone.

As many as one in five American households are either behind on credit card payments or possess at least one account in which they are over their limit.  Living in this “penalty rate zone” of credit cards isn’t easy.  But there are options available to the average consumer that can alleviate the stress of continued monthly credit delinquency.  Consider the following five tips and start your journey on the road to financial security today:

Tip #1Consider a Budget:  Do you know how much you spend each month?  What is your average current credit card obligation?  How many ‘essential expenses’ do you have? A car, rent or a mortgage payment, food, and loans, are considered essentials. Eating out, the new Disney movie and your local gym membership, are not essential.  Track your spending and eliminate the fat, you may be shocked at your monthly savings.

Tip #2Cut up your Credit Cards:  If you have a credit card with a balance that is more then your regular monthly salary, that’s a problem.  Consider cutting up the card completely or putting it completely out of reach for the time being.  Are you making the minimum payment?  If so, that goes completely to interest and won’t move your outstanding balance much at all.  Make sure you check out our free credit card calculator and see what increasing your monthly payment will mean to your future financial security.

Tip #3Debt Management Plans:  It’s not easy to ask for help from any debt management or credit counseling company.  But it may be the smartest decision you ever make.  If you are over $3000 in credit card debt and need that debt paid off faster and cheaper then you ever thought possible, this may be the option for you. Read our detailed information on what is debt management and see if it may be right for you. Continue reading America is Drowning in Debt: 5 Tips to Reach the Shore

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