BOSTON (CBS) – Think about using your tax refund to pay down your credit card debt or pay it off completely if your debt is about $3,000.
I know there is nothing exciting about this suggestion. I know it is a nitty gritty practical idea but it is a good use of your refund. I do know you would like to reward yourself in some way with that refund but also know that getting out from credit card debt is a very good thing!
The nation’s credit card debt is almost $860 billion, that’s with a B. The average household debt appears to be $7,000, but many consumers don’t carry the debt month-to-month. Those who do average $15,000 a household.
Use your refund dollars to start paying down your debt! Pay off your credit cards and take a pledge that you won’t let it get that high again. Look at your cards and pay down the one with the highest interest rate first.
If you are carrying $3,000 on a card with a 19% interest rate you have just saved yourself $513 in interest charges over the next year.
If the $3,000 doesn’t wipe out the whole of your debt, consolidate your high interest rate cards to the card with the lowest rate. Work hard at paying down that debt by making payments each month that are larger than the minimum required.
Try living on a budget and not using your credit cards so you can pay down the debt quicker. Use your credit cards wisely and once out of debt resolve to pay your credit card bill in full each month.
Credit card companies are finding more ways to nickel and dime you in this economy. Good customers are being penalized by having their interest rate go up or their limit reduced. If you are late with one payment you could see your interest rate bumped up.
Use your refund as the first step to being debt free.
One more thing:
ACTIVE MILITARY MEMBERS, VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Operation Money Wise Is Designed for Those with Military Backgrounds
The state’s Office of Financial Literacy announced that registration is open for an upcoming “Money Conference” geared specifically toward veterans, active military members, and their families. The Conference will commence at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 22nd in McKenzie Auditorium at Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley.
The free first-ever Conference, dubbed Operation Money Wise, will provide instruction on matters such as how to sharpen spending and saving skills, how to protect assets from predatory lending practices, and what financial tools and benefits are available to service members and veterans. State officials said that, particularly given the complexity of the military benefit system, some veterans and service members might not take advantage of the financial benefits available to them or might expect to receive a benefit for which they don’t qualify.
The event is jointly sponsored by Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, the Massachusetts National Guard, and the Financial Literacy Trust Fund.
A free continental breakfast and box lunch will be made available to people attending the Conference. For more information and to register, interested parties can visit www.mass.gov/treasury/operationmoneywise or call (617) 367-9333 Ext. 615.