• One simple change that can help pay off your credit card debt

    By: Leah Jordan

    Updated:

    The average household with credit card debt owes more than $16,000. The Mid-South is no different – with nearly every person who is carrying debt owing thousands.

    The holiday season is one that is particularly tough for families. Americans racked up more than $1,000 in holiday debt at the end of 2018, and nearly one third of those shoppers still have debt from last year.

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    In many cases, what was a must-have toy at the time is now lost or shoved in the back of a closet, but the staggering bill may just now be arriving in the mail.

    Cait Lamberton is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Pittsburgh. She acknowledges that working on reducing credit card debt can be difficult.

    “You’re incurring debt for things that don’t mean anything to you three weeks later,” said Cait Lamberton, who is helping lead a study on paying off debt. “It's really depressing… because the minute you write the check you don't get anything for it."


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    To help Mid-Southerners get out of debt, FOX13 investigated different strategies that could help lead to a debt-free life. 

    Lamberton is involved in a new study that found paying off specific purchases each month could lead to less debt.

    “Instead of saying I’m just sending in $50. I'm paying for the shoes I bought last month,” she said. “Then you reconnect the object they bought with the payment they are making."

    Lamberton said another way to look at it is itemizing by store.

    For example, try paying for all the Starbucks on your statement, rather than getting caught in the cycle of paying the monthly minimum. 

    She compared it to going on a diet.

    “If you start counting calories, you are more likely to maybe decide you are going to have the salad instead of the hamburger,” Lamberton said. “With money, it’s the same thing. Once you start paying attention to what you spend on you tend to change a little bit."

    FOX13 Investigates has a few other tips for you and your family:

    1. If you’re using a credit card, be sure you have one with cash-back perks. You won’t be raking in big bucks, but when it comes to tackling debt, every penny earned helps.
    2. Try refinancing a card or two with personal loans. You could get thousands of dollars at a MUCH lower A-P-R than your cards. 
    3. Next, try meal prepping as opposed to buying a lunch or dinner out every day. Those savings will add up quickly.  
    4. Keep your day-job but get on track to earn some passive income on top. Consider renting one of your rooms out on Airbnb, or even getting involved in a paid-sleep study.  

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