Should I consolidate my credit card debt?


I’m 24, and have been married for a year and a half now. Until about a year ago, we were debt free. Now with some regular life hitting us + some unwise spending we’ve found ourselves in about $12,000 of credit card debt. We put them in a ziplock bag and locked them away. I was curious if you’d suggest me try to consolidate that, and just attack it with everything we have or…? We are currently putting together a better budget to avoid this happening again in the future! But in the meantime we’ve got to get out of this debt.

Carlos

Hello Carlos and thank you for your question.

I am glad that you got a hold of it before the balance got any larger and locked away the credit cards. Consolidation loans may seem like a good idea, but oftentimes the interest rate is so high that it isn’t worth it. I think you should just attack and pay off each credit card. It will take some time, but this will also be a great lesson and once you are debt free, it is unlikely you will end up in this situation again.

I think that it also important to understand how you got into debt. You said life hitting you and unwise spending. Along with a budget, I would also set up an emergency fund. With an emergency fund, if things happen, you have the funds to cover it and you don’t have to use a credit card. In the beginning, build up 6 months’ worth of expenses and then go for an entire year of expenses. That is a great cushion for when life comes knocking.

As a newly married couple, it is easy to get caught up in going out to eat, traveling, and shopping. Include in the budget a line item for entertainment and stick to it. Once the money in that area is spent for the month, no more until the next month. While you are paying off your debt, this is a great time to explore cooking together at home, Netflix and Hulu, and having people over for potluck brunches instead of going out.

If you two are determined to get out of debt, you will do it. Remember the lessons once you are debt free again. Good Luck!!!

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