If you are a military servicemember and find yourself suddenly buried under mounting debt, you are not alone.
Even small purchases on multiple credit cards can quickly add up to big debts that you find you can't repay.
As military servicemembers, you have a support system in place for guidance to stop the downward debt spiral, no matter where you are in the cycle.
And you have your military resolve.
First of all, don't panic. There are some immediate actions you can take to alleviate a personal cash crisis and help your military family stay afloat during your credit card and loan repayment plan.
And take heart; even financial setbacks can be important when learning to manage credit, leverage loans, and create your own personal financial management plan for today's challenging economy.
CREDIT CRUNCH: CUT UP YOUR EXTRA CREDIT CARDS
To avoid adding to an already high credit card balance, try cutting up your cards except one, for emergency use only.
With too many credit cards in your wallet, it can be tempting to ignore your resolve to decrease your credit card balance, especially when you see something you really want to buy.
Impulse purchases, meals or vacations can be dangerous. And when it comes to large ticket items, you can end up paying way more than the initial cost of the item in interest costs if you can't pay off a large balance relatively fast.
And don't compound the problem: if you are maxxed out on any one credit card, don't solve it by accepting a new pre-approved credit card. There are more responsible ways to raise your credit score, and better ways to manage your existing debt.
DEBT DECLINE: CONTROL YOUR EXPENSES
Start paying off your debts in an optimal sequence, beginning with the account that has the highest interest rate.
Sometime, if you have credit card accounts with low balances, it can boost your morale to make an exception to the rule and pay off those accounts in full, all at once. So go ahead; feeling good about your money management success is a step in the right direction.
Pay more than the monthly minimums on your credit cards, which are usually only 2% to 3% of your balance. This is a smart financial move even if you are paying off only one debt at a time. If you fall into a trap of paying only the minimum due each month, your payments will never cover the interest you are accumulating. With mounting interest, you could end up spending even thousands pf dollars more than the original cost of the item you charged.
Once you begin "retiring" your debt, use the money you were applying to that debt to move on to paying off your next credit card balance. This systematic approach is the way to relieve your debt and increase your credit line and your credit score, all at the same time.
YOUR CREDIT SCORE RISE
Diminishing your debt will improve your credit score, so continue to monitor your progress and protect your credit.
Remember that a military attitude and strong resolve are always essential in managing your military financial responsiblity.