Credit Card Debt

Survey: Americans Are (Still) Struggling With Debt

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While the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, debt continues to weigh us down. Credit cards, student loans, mortgages, car loans, personal loans, medical bills–according to our recent survey, most Americans have a combination of these types of debt. And despite their best intentions, many seem to be digging themselves deeper into the hole each year. So, why do we have a debt problem, and what can you do if you’re struggling with debt?

What does the debt struggle look like?

According to our recent survey, 26% of people have more than $10,000 in credit card debt. To make things worse, 29% of those surveyed said that if they needed $2,000 for an emergency, they would reach for their credit cards. It’s no wonder why so many people get stuck in this vicious cycle.

The problem often compounds, leading to stress and preventing people from getting ahead financially. It’s a problem that many Americans are aware of, and also actively trying to get out of. In fact, 62% of those surveyed said they would use a $5,000 windfall to pay off credit card debt. However, you don’t have to wait for that to happen to start improving your finances.

Here are 5 things you can do immediately to start getting your debt under control:

1. Stop using your credit cards

One of the reasons Americans are drowning in debt is that they’re not plugging the holes in the sinking boat. If you’re struggling with debt, the first step is to stop accumulating more of it. For example, if you continue to use your credit cards, you’ll only make the problem worse. Instead, switch to paying with cash or a debit card so you won’t rack up additional debt as you’re trying to pay off what you already owe.

2. Set a realistic budget

Next, take stock of all debts, expenses, and income. Be honest about your needs and evaluate where you can cut costs. Once you’ve prioritized your expenses, create a spending plan that you can stick to. Remember, saving is also an important part of improving your financial health, so make sure to work that into your budget as well. Focus on living within your means so that you won’t have to rely on credit cards.

3. Get resourceful

Paying off debt requires a high level of commitment and will often require some lifestyle changes. It’s easy to get discouraged at times, but if you remain dedicated to achieving your goal, there’s a high probability that you will succeed. Aside from slashing expenses, try to think of other ways you can free up cash. Perhaps you could sell items around the house and put the profits toward paying down debt.

4. Get a side gig

If you’ve already cut back on your expenses, it may be time to consider earning some extra money. Flexible side hustles can bring in more cash and help you get free from debt faster. Consider your skills, experience, and available time when looking for ways to boost your income. These days, there are tons of creative ways to supplement your take-home pay.

5. Understand your debt relief options

There are many ways to get out of debt, and the right solution for some may not be the right solution for you. Your best debt relief option will largely depend on how much you owe, how soon you want to be out of debt, how much you can afford to pay, and other factors. From chipping away at your debt over time, to debt consolidation, to debt negotiation, there are multiple ways to ease your debt burden. A little research can go a long way toward giving you peace of mind.

Get help with your debt struggle

If you’re still struggling with debt and feel overwhelmed about where to start, there are experts who can point you in the right direction. Freedom Debt Relief is here to help you understand your options for dealing with your debt, including our debt relief program. Our Certified Debt Consultants can help you find a solution that will put you on the path to a better financial future. Find out if you qualify right now.

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Tammi Huang is a Marketing Manager at Freedom Financial Network. Her goal is to help people adopt better money habits and improve their financial health. She wholeheartedly believes that spending less doesn’t mean living less. When she’s not writing, Tammi fills her free time working on home design projects, trying new restaurants, and exploring dog-friendly spots with her rescue pup.