It's a catch 22 for a lot of people, you need a credit card to do so much in today's society, but the lure of buy now pay off later can suck many in to a dangerous cycle of debt. If you find yourself paying the minimum due or maybe you can't even do that, you're not the only one. Millions are in debt and don't know what to do.
A volatile stock market, the housing market collapse and crippling unemployment numbers. THEY'RE just some of the reasons that Eric Sauder, a financial specialist at Clearpoint Financial Solutions has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking help.
Sauder said, "Because of the way the economy's going a lot of people are being laid off, their income is reduced, their interest rates are being increased by the credit card companies, they're just having a lot of problems so they call us."
The Greenville based branch is a non-profit debt solutions company. it offers sound monetary advice when the credit card, medical and other bills start stacking up and taking over a person's life.
"Compared to last year at this time, our call volume is way up. A lot more people are having difficulty than they were before", Sauder said.
And Sauder says those calls have led to a 25 percent increase in the volume of people coming into his office to take control of their debt.
So what can be done?
Sauder says the best thing to do is to call the credit card companies and let them know that there's a problem.
Sauder says just as fast as credit card companies can raise interest rates for any reason, they can lower them too. So in this case, all you have to do is ask. Of course there are no guarantees, but Sauder says a lot of creditors are willing to work with card holders.
In the meantime, cut back on expenses like add on's on your telephone. You can also try to shop around for cheaper car insurance.
Sauder says a trend he's also seen of people picking up a second job and cutting back on things like eating out.
Sauder said, "There's really not a whole lot of overspending going on anymore...It's just everything is increasing except the income."
Making a rough time for the U.S. economy, paralyzing for the average American consumer.
If you find yourself asking how much debt should i have to consider using a debt management program, Sauder says it varies. He says he's seen people with as little debt as $1,000 to $191,000 in unsecured debt.
Sauder says there are pretty much three options. You can consult with a non-profit agency like his to get your finances in order. You can also contact agencies that negotiate with the credit card companies for a debt settlement. And the last resort is filing for bankruptcy.
He says the best thing to remember about a credit card is not to get too many and to keep the credit limit low and of course don't overspend.