Want to Slash Your Debt?

You work hard for the money – and the plastic – so why not spend it? At least that’s how you used to feel – until you figured out how quickly credit card debt, which 40 percent of Americans carry from month to month, grows. And women are less likely than men to pay off their balances each month.

Breaking free comes with shelling out more than the minimum payment month after month, according to DailyWorth.com personal finance columnist, MP Dunleavey. “The minimum is designed to keep you in debt. When you have debt, you’re living beyond your means, not saving and probably stressed out.” Nothing is more frustrating than throwing hard-earned money at plastic, says Dunleavey, especially now. “Paying off debt means you can invest the hundreds of dollars you were spending on credit card bills each month into your life.”

To help eliminate your financial burden:

MSN’s 5-minute guide deciphers the fine print, explains new laws and offers tips for using cards wisely.

Where to start? Consumer Reports lists five approaches to paying off cards (i.e., starting with the highest balance vs. the highest interest rate) and evaluates the best option for you.

About.com lists five “stupid” ways to reduce debt – like debt settlement and using home equity.

Must have a new card? Forget sky miles. These rewards cards contribute to your net worth.

By Muriel Vega

“A crust eaten in peace is better than a bouquet partaken in anxiety.”

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