3 ways to start achieving financial freedom this July 4th
by: Eric McWhinnie
If you were born yesterday, you just might think spending money is your patriotic duty. Credit cards are designed to look like the United States flag, expensive cars are marketed as living the good life, and you’re constantly told nothing completes the American Dream like a big luxurious house. In reality though, spending money and depleting your resources can hinder your independence. Let’s take a look at three simple ways you can declare your financial freedom this July 4th.
1. Start paying off credit cards for good
The average American household carries a credit card balance of $7,177, according to a recent report from CardHub.com. That amount has stayed fairly consistent over the past six years as households continue to add new debt to replace retired debt. In fact, Americans finished 2014 with more than $57 billion in new credit card debt and are on pace to add another $55.8 billion this year. Considering interest rates on credit cards are well into the double digits, freeing yourself from this debt is crucial to your finances.
You can stop committing financial treason against your future self by committing to a pay-off strategy today. The snowball approach is one of the most popular methods for debt reduction. Breaking conventional wisdom, this strategy ignores interest rates. Pay the minimum amount required on all credit card balances except the smallest. Place as much money as you can toward the smallest balance until it’s completely paid off. Then take the money you were using on that card to apply it toward the next smallest balance until that one is paid off too. Repeat this process until you have zero credit card debt.
This approach is best used for people who get discouraged easily. Sending the majority of your monthly debt repayment to the credit card balance with the highest interest rate is more efficient, but it’s called personal finance for a reason. Some people need the satisfaction of paying off balances to keep them motivated. Use what works for you. Once you have zero credit card debt, adjust your budget so you pay off any credit card usage each month. This allows you to escape interest charges and build good credit.continue reading »