With so much going on around the world today, it is very easy to be overwhelmed. For many people, finances can be difficult already. If you are living paycheck to paycheck or recently lost your job, it can be tempting to be a victim to worry.
The lawyers at Scura Bankruptcy Law Firm want to help you learn how to manage your credit card debt during these difficult times.
Here are some tips.
1. Look at Your Interest Rates
Many credit companies have different interest rates depending on the transaction. For example, a regular purchase might have an interest rate of around 12 percent. But if you get a cash advance, then the rate may be 22 percent. If you have to carry a monthly balance, look at the transactions you are making. In the long run, avoiding transactions with high interest rates can save money.
You should also look at the interest rates on different cards. If you have ones with lower rates, use those first. Even saving a few dollars can be vital. Lenders do not want you to get behind on payments. Contacting them quickly can be vital.
2. Contact Your Lender
You can contact the credit card company and ask if they will lower the interest rate. If you are affected by COVID-19, then your lender may be willing to work with you. The worst that could happen is that they say no.
3. Tell Them If You Can’t Pay
If you think you will not be able to pay your bill, you should contact the lender. Many lenders have options that allow you to deal with financial hardships related to COVID-19. That might include allowing you to defer your payments.
The lender might add a statement to your account that says you have been affected by a disaster. With some credit scoring systems, that account will be considered neutral. Ultimately, that will not affect your personal credit score.
4. Be Resourceful
Stop thinking of debt as something bad. It is just a chance for you to pay off something over time. If you are using your credit card to start a business or learn a new skill, it’s okay. In the same way, it is okay to use your credit card to get through these tough times.
5. Remember That It Is Temporary
Although this is a setback for many people, the economy will eventually recover and there will be more jobs again. You might get back to normal faster than you thought. It is alright to do everything you must in order to survive during this time.
6. Look for Multiple Income Opportunities
Even if your hours were reduced or you lost your job, you don’t need to sit around doing nothing. People can still make money, and many have turned to the internet. For example, maybe you’ve always done graphic design as a hobby. Look for ways to use that skill online. Or perhaps you’re great at writing and can use that skill to start a blog or a new business.
Also, think about what’s useful in this situation. Are you good at sewing? Maybe you can pull out some supplies and make fabric face coverings to sell online or in your community. Don’t turn your nose up at anything, even if it might mean picking up a few hours a week at your local grocery store.
7. Make the Minimum Payments
Because of the challenges related to COVID-19, it might be hard for you to pay down your entire balance every month. It’s OK to carry a balance if you need to. But you should try to make your minimum payment every month. That way, you can prevent damage to your credit score from late payments.
While you should always try to avoid unnecessary debt, it is even more important now. However, it is not shameful to use a credit card for essential goods, such as household goods or food, especially if you look for the lowest-priced items.
Financial struggles can be scary, especially if your income has been significantly reduced. But it is important to try to stay calm and not become overwhelmed. You should redefine the way you look at money. Although it is best to pay down your credit card debt, it is a resource you can use for essentials.