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'Tis the season to look at credit card debt

Experts say that you should pay your credit card bill every month in full so that you don't have to pay those high credit-card interest rates. While those experts might well be right about the wisdom of paying off cards monthly, the reality is that many people find themselves carrying a high balance (the average is over $10,000) and paying an interest rate that averages 16 percent.

A high balance and high interest rates can result in a downward financial spiral for many people. And at this time of year, when it's so important to so many to buy gifts for their loved ones, the pressure to increase debt can accelerate the downward momentum.

CBS News says that the first step in coming to grips with credit card debt is to take stock of your financial situation. Sit down and figure out how much you owe on all your cards. Then compare that to your income. Also begin tracking your spending, so you can see and begin to understand your spending habits.

Make a budget, CBS urges, and put the cards away. Decide which spending is essential and which is not.

Also, look at the interest rates on your cards. Does one of them offer a zero-interest balance transfer? If so, you might be able to debt to that card from others and save on interest payments.

Be sure to read the fine print on the cards, however. There are fees and possible penalties involved for transfers and missed payments.

The report also urges you to always make at least the minimum payments on your cards so that you avoid having your account considered delinquent. But it's best to pay more than the minimum, CBS says, so that you pay less in interest and reduce your debt faster.

Of course, for some people, those options are simply not possible. For them, it might make more sense to sit down with an attorney experienced in debt settlement negotiations to learn about their options.

In some cases, credit card debt settlement results in paying off debt at as little as 10 cents on the dollar. You can contact a Brevard County lawyer to discuss the possibilities in your situation.

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