Debt management doesn’t have to be overwhelming

Getting a grasp on credit card debt takes patience and a little strategy.

One of the first steps in eliminating credit card debt is to gather all the bills together, says Maryland newspaper the Herald-Mail. With the bills in one place, consumers should make a record of what is owed on each card and the minimum payment needed.

Consumers should aim to pay more than that each month to avoid racking up interest.

“If you have a $2,500 balance at 21 percent interest and you pay 2 percent of the remaining balance each month (a typical minimum payment), it will take you more than 63 years to pay off your debt,” reports the Herald-Mail. “It would cost you $14,699 in interest charges.”

Consumers can make the most of their money by applying larger payments towards cards with the highest interest rate first, says the Herald-Mail. People can also pay off cards with the smallest balances first, then apply the extra money towards larger balances.

Proper credit card debt management is essential because lenders view credit history to determine what kind of interest rate people get on loans. Some employers even review the record as part of their hiring process.