Paying off credit cards with high interest in full might seem like a good idea, but sometimes paying off debt gradually can often serve as a better solution. In different parts of the United States, including Arizona, the average individual has over $4,000 in debt. Paying off credit card debt often doesn’t solve spending problems and can lead to more debt when individuals spend money they set aside for something else. Paying off debt with inheritance money or bonuses may seem like a solution but starting to build up their savings and stay out of debt permanently can help people avoid future financial challenges.

To pay off their bills and stay out of debt, consumers need to stop using their credit cards, come up with long-term solutions for paying off credit cards and other bills and take steps to reduce their spending habits. Instead of using credit cards, consumers should try to use cash or debit cards to pay for most purchases. Keeping a spreadsheet with budget information can help them to know what they spend, so they can take steps to cut out certain unnecessary indulgences.

Delinquent payments to credit cards can lead to greater debt and calls from creditors. People in debt often experience financial issues because of unemployment or emergency expenses. Not paying on credit cards can cause consumers to deal with serious issues, such as lawsuits from creditors. Sometimes people in debt can reorganize or eliminate their debts through bankruptcy.

Going through the bankruptcy process can be time-consuming and often confusing. Individuals have to file petitions, go through credit counseling, provide records of their debts and go to court. A bankruptcy lawyer with experience handling different types of Chapter 7 and 11 cases could help individuals make sure they fill out the right forms and provide the correct financial and asset documents to have a better chance of either getting their debts reorganized or discharged completely.

Source: Forbes, “When not to pay off your high-interest credit card debt“, Nancy Anderson, October 11, 2013