Financial Literacy Month: Tips for getting out of debt - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Financial Literacy Month: Tips for getting out of debt

Maxing out on credit cards, and getting deeper in debt, can cause most people to be overwhelmed.

April is Financial Literacy Month, and the Better Business Bureau of East Texas is providing a list of several tips and resources for consumers to become better spenders and savers.

The BBB informed me that while credit card usage in America has fallen since 2008, we are still very much in debt. The average credit card balance is $16,000.

Mechele Mills with the BBB of East Texas says while debt is overall better than back in 2008, we still struggle today.

She suggests a list of ways people can overcome debt: complete a financial inventory, put away the plastic, call your creditors, consider working with a debt counseling service, pay high interest rate first, mail payments early, watch for credit repair scams and consider bankruptcy a last resort.

"We all want to be better spenders, but in order to do that we need to be better savers so we do need to pay down that debt," says Mills.

We visited with Brannan Emery, with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas.

"When you come in we will review your budget with you, we'll review your creditors, we'll get you a good financial inventory so you know where you're at, and we offer a debt management plan, where we will work with your creditors to lower your interest rates and monthly payments," says Emery.

Emery says that it's easier for a counseling service to lower interest rates than trying to do it yourself.

"If you're only making minimum payment on your credit cards with the interest rates being often times up to the 25% to 30% range, it could take up to decades for you to pay those cards off."

The BBB says there is no such thing as an easy fix in getting out of debt, so if a repair company makes any promises up front, or asks for money up front, those are red flags.

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