Get Credit Card Debt Under Control
Lois Smith, consumer and family economics educator
If you spent more on holiday gifts
than you intended, you’re not alone. Nearly one-third of
adults say they spend more than they should during the holidays.
One survey showed most spent $100 to $500 more than they planned.
And, for some, this means a hefty credit card debt for the New
If you used your credit card a little too freely, strive to
pay the balance as quickly as possible. After the holidays, some
companies offer to let you skip a payment or two. Or, the company
may even reduce your minimum payment. Don’t be tempted to take
these offers because you’ll pay more in the long run through
Paying just the minimum amount on the card balance each
month is dangerous to your financial health, too. You might be surprised
how long it will
take you to pay off your bill. For example, if you have a credit
card balance of $1,825 at 18 percent interest and pay only a minimum
payment of $28, it will take you 21 years to pay off the balance
and cost you over $5,000 in interest. And, that’s with no additional
charges on the card over those 21 years!
To see how much the interest cost affects your debt, use Extension’s
on-line credit card calculators at: www.ace.uiuc.edu/cfe/credit/.
This website also allows
you to figure out how much you need to pay each month in order
to pay off your balance in a certain amount
If you don’t have Internet access, contact your local
U of I Extension office for information about managing credit card
In This Issue: Raising Responsible
Kids | Talking with Teens about Death | Get
Credit Card Debt Under Control | Recipe