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Getting and staying out of credit card debt

There are steps to get out and stay out of credit card debt / WGXA

MACON, Ga. -- According to a Smart Asset study, Macon ranks number 8 in the nation for highest credit card debt.

Credit card debt can become a burden to many households.

Colleen Giffin with Beall Financial said that the first step to getting out of credit card debt is to take stock of all cards, payments and owed amounts.

Then, you should stop using the credit card until it's paid off.

"You know stop using your credit card so you can actually pay it off," Giffin said. "Always making sure you're paying more than the minimum balance because that way you're not just constantly accruing more interest and more debt."

If overdue amounts were sent to a debt collector, pay off that amount so your credit score doesn't keep decreasing.

Giffin said there are "snowball plans" online that lay out a way to pay off debts. Some sites offer the plans for free.

"A great easy way is to use a snowball calculator," Giffin said. "What you do is get your credit card debt, you list it out, see what balances you can pay off the fastest, see what interest rates you can cut down."

She added that while being in credit card debt is difficult, it's still important to use them smartly.

Building credit can help people be approved for car loans or home mortgages.

However, only use credit cards if you have money to quickly pay them off.

Giffin said you can request three free credit reports a year under federal law at annualcreditreport.com


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