A large majority of families today are under an alarming financial strain. Cost of living all over the country is going up faster than salaries can keep up. A once steady salary for a family is now keeping families struggling and living paycheck to paycheck. Most families these days are two income houses, but that is no longer enough in many cases. Now a lot of families are two income houses with family members who have multiple jobs to keep up with the cost of living in this economy. When bills such as childcare, utilities, car loans etc. build up and there is not enough to go around, much less live on, families turn to credit cards for additional funds to live off of. The problem with this solution is the high interest rates that come with revolving credit card debt when the bills become too much to pay in full each month.

There are things families can do to reduce their debt and make life easier in the long run.

Balance Transfers:

Deciding to do a balance transfer can often make dealing with credit card debt much easier. If you have debt and your credit is in good standing, it is often possible to apply for a balance transfer to a different card. This allows for only one monthly payment, rather than several, and a low promotional interest rate. Having this promotional rate is helpful because depending on your credit you can often get a very low interest rate for the promotional period. This eliminates high interest rates on your various cards and gives you the opportunity to pay off your debt in one low payment. For a low fee you can consolidate your payments into one and you will have less to worry about. Make sure to pay off the amount before the promotional period is up, or the high interest will start again. If you need more time to pay the debt down, you can often transfer the amount that is left to another card for a new promotional period.

Debt Consolidation Loans:

For families who have an asset such as a house, a debt consolidation loan may be the right choice to make paying off debt much easier. You can apply for a refinance or consolidation loan to pay off your bills and then have one low payment or have the new payment built into your mortgage. This is a good option because you can often get a much lower interest rate and your debt will be “paid” by the loan. This will help your credit score and that makes everything easier.

Debt Negotiation:

This option is best for families who have fallen behind in their debt. If you have debt that has gone into collections, debt negotiation is a good way to cut down how much you need to pay along with setting up a lower monthly payment to get rid of the debt once and for all. If you don’t feel comfortable calling the third party debt collectors on your own, there are companies that will call and negotiate the settlement amount for you. Just keep in mind this option only works for those who already have debt in collections. Don’t ever let a company tell you that you should stop paying your bills so they can settle the amount for you. If you already have debt in collections and want to make the debt collectors stop calling, this option is for you.