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Debt Consolidation when You Find Yourself Overwhelmed with Bills, Bills, and More Bills
Many of us find ourselves overwhelmed with bills, bills, bills. Going to the mailbox only to find yet another late payment notice may have become a daily trauma. Your spending patterns and lack of budgeting has brought you to this point, and you know it is no one's fault but your own. Yet, what can you do about it? Bankruptcy? Give up? Perhaps you've looked at a copy of your credit report and realize you are in much, much too deep. Depression may be beginning to take over your life. Don't despair any longer; there are solutions to help you!
For most of us, when we find our selves deep in debt, we're not too happy about it! If you have found that you are spending more than you are making, or that you are 'juggling' payments - paying one this month and another next month - you must take control of the situation before it becomes any worse.
Hopefully, you have caught the situation before any of your payments have become 30 days late, or 60 days late or more. If so, there are some easy ways to handle your situation and get back on track without loosing your good credit score. If you have a record of late payments already, you can resolve the problem and earn back your good credit rating. The answer is debt consolidation.
In today's economy, you are definitely NOT alone if you have found yourself in the above situation. Credit is so available and the media impresses on us from every direction to wear better clothes, drive a better vehicle, etc. etc. etc. It seems it is never enough. We have to keep up with the Joneses it seems.
Debt consolidation is taking the debt incurred from several accounts - credit cards or medical bills, or other payments - and combining the individual payments into one consolidated loan. In doing this, the consolidation company arbitrates with your credit card obligations to lower the interest rates, and may negotiate a lower pay-in-full amount. The amount you pay each month will include fees for the debt consolidation service, but even with this fee, your payments will be lower than your high interest rate credit cards!
By far, the most common debt consolidation loan is for the consolidation of credit card debt. If you have found you have too many cards, or have charged on the ones you have to their maximum limits - now is the time to consider consolidation. Don't wait until things become worse. You do not want to reach the point of bankruptcy when you can act on your debts and avoid the stigma associated with bankruptcy.
There is certainly no disgrace in asking for, and getting, the financial help you need. Debt consolidation is a relatively painless way to go about paying off your bills. You can often take the proverbial bull by the horns, and work on the issue yourself with minimal time and effort.
Individual Credit Cards
Most credit card companies have entire departments designed to assist their clients in working out payment on their cards. Much of the time they will reduce the amount owed with your interest to a lower amount if you set up a designated payment schedule with them. This is a very reasonable way to go about taking care of your bills.
Most credit card companies will work with you, as long as you are not using their cards frequently and running up yet more charges. If you make the scheduled payments, you can likely keep your card. But you might want to consider cutting up all your cards but one that you save for emergencies. Remember that's how you got in this predicament in the first place!
The only drawback for this method is that you are contacting and handling each card separately. This could cause you to have too many separate payments for you to easily manage.
Credit and Debt Consolidation Companies
The other alternative is to learn about some of the many debt consolidation companies and choose one to help you. These companies take all your credit cards and combine them into one single monthly payment for you. By bargaining with each credit card company, they arrive at pay-off costs that are usually 40% - 60% less than your total credit card debt. They charge a slight percentage, added onto each payment, for their services and you are left with a single consolidated payment that is well below the total of all your original payments and will be paid off in a considerably shorter time.
These are the things to consider which will effect debt consolidation:
* Your current financial status
* Your State of residence
* The amount of debt that you owe
* Total unsecured loans like credit card debts
* Total secured loans such as your mortgage
* Balance on each credit card
* Any equity you may hold in your home.
* Principal / interest component of the total of each credit card
Make sure you have all this information written down. These factors can be easily obtained from a recent credit report, or you can call each company and get the information from their billing department. Either way, get the complete information of each account that you want to consolidate along with your pertinent personal information.
After you've gathered all your information, your next step will be to choose a debt consolidation company. You can locate such an organization in your local phone book or by searching the Internet. You'll want to look for a company that fits your specific needs based on the facts you have gathered. Some consolidation companies will only work with debt totals of $5000 and above; some will only work with debts of $10,000 and above; others have no such limitations. Once you find a company that fits your needs and you're accepted as a client, you're well on your way to a debt-free life!
Remember, while going through the debt consolidation process, you must keep up the payments on your credit accounts. This means remaining fully aware of your financial situation. You can accomplish this by making a good working budget for your household. After consolidating your debts, this budget will be invaluable to prevent finding yourself in yet another ocean of debt.
The author: Bradley Sproson.
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