National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling offers a step-by-step process for consumers to manage credit card debt and achieve financial peace of mind.
Boston, MA – February 6, 2014
This New Year, fulfill your resolution to become financially fit and debt-free in 2014 by following American Consumer Credit Counseling’s straightforward approach to achieving financial peace of mind. This fun and interactive infographic provides a pathway for consumers to help manage credit card debt and gain valuable financial education to develop better spending habits and money management skills.
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales for 2013 increased 3.8 percent totaling $601.8 billion, including $95.7 billion in online and e-commerce sales. With more American consumers shopping online than ever before, millions relied on credit cards during the holiday season and are now feeling the effects of those decisions as credit card statements start rolling in.
“As credit card statements from December begin to roll in, many consumers are feeling the impact of their holiday spending hangover which can often put a strain on your personal finances well beyond the holiday season,” stated Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Understanding your options and having access to resources such as a debt management program and interactive financial education guide can be the critical difference between paying down debt or spending thousands in interest payments.”
ACCC’s Path to Financial Peace of Mind helps consumers tackle debt in a practical way that helps reduce the stress and anxiety that can often accompany the challenge. ACCC offers easy step-by-step instructions to ensure you are on your way to financial peace of mind in 2014:
- First, determine if a debt management plan is right for you. Consult with an expert at ACCC who can provide you with a full analysis of your financial profile.
- Once you enroll in ACCC’s debt management program, a certified credit counselor will help you construct a realistic budget to help you manage your credit card debt and will work with your creditors to negotiate a possible reduction in fees, monthly payments, and the timeframe to pay off debts.
- ACCC offers various resources for you to plan – and stick to – your budget on a daily basis, including the Budget in Your Pocket worksheet, which can be downloaded from ConsumerCredit.com.
- For a more thorough and long-term view of your budget, download ACCC’s Household Budgeting Worksheet, which helps consumers maintain their budget beyond day-to-day expenses.
- To avoid incurring more debt, opt for cash or a debit card rather than using credit cards for necessary expenses. Although it can be tempting to reach for your credit card, using the cash that you have on hand for daily purchases will prevent you from spiraling into more debt.
- It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with multiple monthly payments to various different creditors. A debt management plan allows consumers to make one payment to ACCC to help streamline monthly bills and develop a better and more organized approach to manage your credit card debt. Make sure to monitor your statements to verify that your debt management plan terms are honored and alert ACCC if anything changes.
- Once you’ve started paying down debt and sticking to your budget, begin building an emergency fund. This should equal nine months of living expenses, socked away in an untouchable account. Should disaster strike unexpectedly, you can stave off debt with the help of your emergency fund.
After six months, once you’ve gotten a handle with maintaining your monthly budget and paying off your credit card debts, check in on your progress with an ACCC certified credit counselor. If you have received an increase in income, increase your payments to your accounts with the highest interest rates. If you are trying to save up for a goal, such as buying a house or a new car or taking a trip, use ACCC’s online financial calculators to help you save, while not compromising your regular budget.
“Our certified counselors understand the personal sensitivities that often accompany an individual’s financial profile,” continued Trumble. “Debt management programs provide an individualized step-by-step plan of attack accompanied by ongoing interaction with a counselor.”
Looking for even more helpful hints to send you on the path towards financial peace of mind? Head over to ACCC’s Talking Cents Blog for tips on everything from grocery store savings to repaying student loans. With the help of ACCC’s interactive infographics and certified credit counselors, you can defeat debt and be on your way to financial peace of mind in no time!
American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer various financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. To download any of ACCC’s budgeting resources go to /debt-resources-tools/budgeting/
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health and debt relief through education, counseling, and debt management solutions. ACCC provides individuals with practical debt solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help them determine the best plan of action to get out of debt and regain financial stability. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.