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Reduce credit card debt with baby steps

Credit card debt is an issue that plagues many Massachusetts consumers. Many are still feeling the sting of their holiday spending. Others may be struggling with unemployment or other financial challenges. Whatever the situation, credit card debt can be overwhelming and even embarrassing to some people. Getting out of debt may seem impossible, but by taking baby steps, it can happen. The trick is to have patience, since it won't happen overnight.

The first step is to stop spending on unnecessary items. Buy only what is absolutely needed. Consumers are advised to cut up the credit cards and sell what they don't need. Whether it be electronics, clothing, old kids' toys - get rid of it. Hold a garage sale and start raising funds toward getting out of debt. Use cash or a debit card - most consumers tend to spend less when it's real money coming out of their accounts.

Try to do away with big loans. Save up the money for a reasonably-priced car rather than have a huge car payment for five, six or even seven years.

Next, start paying down the debt. Be sure to make at least the minimum payment each month to avoid fees and increased interest rates. Consumers should start with the smallest balance first so they'll see progress. Once that's paid off, put the card away (or cut it up) and move on to the next card.

The hardest tip for consumers to follow is to not spend money they don't have. This can be challenging for consumers who have been hit with hard times. While getting into debt is a lot easier than getting out of debt, the good news is that reducing debt is possible without having to resort to bankruptcy.

Source: WXYZ.com, "Financial Guru Dave Ramsey offers tips to help you get out of debt in 2015," John Matarese, Feb. 4, 2015

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