The 5 Best Strategies to Pay Off Debt in 2015

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The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals, ACCPros, Offers 5 Tips to Help Consumers Become Debt-Free

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The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals

Only a handful of strategies will accelerate your debt elimination plans and get you out of debt sooner rather than later.

When the New Year arrives, plenty of consumers will make financial resolutions to pay off their debt in 2015.

Unfortunately, many people will fall short of this goal. It’s not due to a lack willpower or discipline, but because they aren’t using the best strategies to become debt free.

For example, some people will try to cut back on eating out at restaurants and clothes shopping, while others will attempt to stick to a very tight budget or negotiate with their creditors – all with varying degrees of success.

“There are many possible ways to go about getting out of debt, but only a handful of strategies will accelerate your debt elimination plans and get you out of debt sooner rather than later,” says Judy Sorensen, president of the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros).

To help consumers nationwide, Sorensen and the experts from ACCPros offer the following 5 best strategies to pay off debt in 2015:

1.    Go Cash Only

One mistake people in debt make is continuing to rely on their credit cards – even when they have no realistic way to pay them off. To become debt free in 2015, try using cash only and see what a difference it makes. Start slow, one month at a time. Once a consumer sees they can survive without relying on credit cards the momentum will build and they can begin to pay off the debt they have accumulated.

“When you have debts you can’t handle, especially credit card bills that are out of control, that’s a sign you need to lay off the credit cards at least for a while until you get your finances back in order,” says Sorensen.

2.    Move Beyond Minimum Payments

“It’s very difficult to get out of debt quickly if you’re only making minimum payments,” says Sorensen. She points out that banks set minimum payment amounts at just one or two percent of your outstanding balance. That’s just one reason that many consumers struggle with debt for many years.

To speed up paying off credit card balances, Sorensen recommends boosting your monthly payments. If it’s not feasible to double or triple your minimum payments, simply pay whatever extra amount you can afford, and do so on a consistent basis.

3.    Put Your Cash Windfalls To Good Use

Getting out of debt can happen a lot faster for those willing to commit large lump sums, or windfalls, toward their debt payoff efforts.

“You might get a windfall from any source,” says Sorensen. It could be your income tax refund check, or maybe a bonus or a raise from your job. While it may be tempting to spend those funds, “anytime you get additional cash, you should use that money to reduce debt. You won’t regret it,” she adds.

4.    Get Professional Help

Sometimes, seeking professional assistance is a person’s best chance of getting out of debt. This is particularly true for people who haven’t been able to successfully budget, aren’t able to keep up with their debt payments, or have tried to negotiate on their own with creditors, all to no avail.

The member agencies of ACCPros are skilled in working with consumers nationwide who are deep in debt. They can assist consumers struggling with credit card bills, medical, and other debts.

“Not only do we educate consumers we work with about proper budgeting and cash management, we can also negotiate with their creditors on their behalf,” says Sorensen. “While we can’t have the principal amount of their debt reduced, we can work with their creditors to reduce interest rates and reduce or even eliminate late fees. This can help consumers get out of debt a lot faster.”

5.     Consider Consolidating Your Debts

It’s stressful to juggle multiple payments to numerous creditors. Consumers have to keep up with various due dates and make sure payments are sent out on time. Late or missed payments also bring the risk of damage to one’s credit rating.

Many people striving to become debt free find it helpful to consolidate their debt payments into one financial obligation. “It simplifies life and gives the consumer greater control,” Sorensen says, adding: “Consolidating your debt can often lower your overall monthly payment too, giving you some financial breathing room.”

About ACCPros

The Association of Credit Counseling Professionals, ACCPros, is the credit counseling industry’s newest and fastest growing trade association.

ACCPros hopes to distinguish itself from other associations by placing an emphasis on ethics and compliance and focusing on best practices, quality service, education, training, and professional ethics.

ACCPros member agencies can be a great resource for consumers seeking help managing their debt. Call the toll-free ACCPros Locator Line at 800-635-0553 to speak with a certified credit counselor at an agency licensed/registered in your state.

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