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How Much is Your Debt Really Costing You?

Paying with credit card

We have a guest blog post for you from Katie Bryan over at America Saves. We partner with America Saves, because they are a national campaign linking more than 1,000 Non-Profit, government, and corporate groups that encourages consumers to save money and build personal wealth. We stand behind their message and mission. We are always trying to educate individuals on wise money management and the importance of saving. So, without further ado, here is the wonderful guest blog post from Katie:

How Much is Your Credit Card Debt REALLY Costing You:

Credit card debt – It is something that hangs over many American heads every day. According to the Federal Reserve, in April 2013 the average credit card debt balance equaled $3,364 per U.S. adult. This assumes that EVERY adult has a credit card and that those cards carry a balance. But not all adults own a credit card. Young Americans are among those ditching their credit cards and not all households with credit cards carry a balance each month. The only way to reduce credit card debt is to make sizeable payments each and every month. To reduce this even faster you should pay more than the minimum payment each month.

Save Nearly $4,000 by Paying MORE Than the Minimum Balance Each Month:

By only paying the minimum monthly amount that is due, you are certain to extend the amount of time it will take you to pay off your debt and increase the amount you will need to pay in the end. Take a look at this example:

Total Credit Card Debt

Monthly Payment

Years to Pay Off

Total Cost

$3,364 (at 14.96% Interest)

$67.28 (min. payment)

19 Years 5 Months


$3,364 (at 14.96% Interest)

$87.28 (min. payment+$20)

4 Years 4 Months


$3,364 (at 14.96% Interest)

$107.28 (2 Month payment+$20)

3 Years 4 Months


$3,364 (at 14.96% Interest)

$167.28  (2.5 Month payment+$20)

1 Year 1 Month


In this example above, finding an extra $100 a month to apply to credit card payments reduces the time it would take you to pay off this debt from 19 years to just over 1 year AND saves you nearly $4,000 as well.

Use this great free calculator to see how long it will take you to pay off your unsecured debt. You can see how long it will take if you ONLY make the minimum payment, how much you will save by paying more, and you can find out how much you will need to pay each month to be debt free in a certain time period that you designate.

Advantage Credit Counseling Service also offers a free online budgeting tool called Budget Builder to help you create a realistic budget and to see exactly where your money is going every month. It’s fast, free, and super easy to use. It can also help you find ways to save money and make some cutbacks each month. Go ahead and check it out today!

How to Find $100.00 Extra a Month to Pay Down Debt or Save the Money:

The 2011 Consumer Expenditure Survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics broke down how the poorest 20% of Americans spend their money. Based on the numbers, there are a few ways even these household can find money to pay down debt and save.

  1. Turning off your cell phone or cable while you pay down debt could save you $50 a month. (You can turn it back on as a reward when your credit card debt is gone)
  2. Stop smoking and save $25 a month.
  3. Cut your entertainment costs in half to save $40 a month.
  4. Find a penny pick it up, by saving $0.50 in change a day you will save $15 a month.
  5. Cancel that gym membership and work out at home or go for a run to save $30-$50 a month.
  6. Don’t buy bottled water from convenience stores and you could save $20-$30 a month.

Need help finding other ways to save money? Visit Advantage CCS’s Educational Resource Center or take the America Saves pledge and make a commitment to yourself to save money and receive emails or text messages to keep you motivated.

Are you in over your head and need help with debt? Visit Advantage CCS at www.advantageccs.org or give us a call at 1-866-699-2227. We’ve been helping people get out of debt since 1968, and we can help you! Talk to one of our certified credit counselors today. The phone call is totally free and completely confidential. Advantage CCS is a Non-Profit Consumer Credit Counseling agency that has a great Debt Management Program to help individuals with their unsecured debt.

Advantage CCS is proud to work with America Saves and help teach responsible money management and money saving skills. We are a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), and a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau of Western PA with an A+ Rating. We are also a member of The Council on Accreditation (COA. Let us help you with your unsecured credit card debt.


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