This recent economic downturn has forced many individuals to turn to alternative ways to pay for everyday items such as groceries and gas aside from cash. The most common alternative, unfortunately, was for people to turn to credit cards. This led to an increase in credit card debt for most individuals during this time period.

The good news is that most Sacramento residents are paying off their debt now, even if it is at a very slow pace. An Atlanta-based credit rating agency calculated the total debt of residents in different metropolitan areas. The amount of credit card debt held by Sacramento residents in January 2013 was $4.4 billion. This is down from $4.47 billion in January 2012 and $4.65 in January 2011.

In January of this year, Sacramento ranked 24th in total credit card debt among the top 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. New York City had the highest debt, totaling $51.4 billion. Los Angeles came in second highest with $35.3 billion in credit card debt.

The total amount of consumer debt in the United States was $603.4 billion in January of this year. This is down .85 percent from January of last year.

There are many options available to those who are facing credit card debt. If the debt is substantial and creditors are beginning to call, one option to get out from under the debt is to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the debtor to eliminate potentially all of his or her debt. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the debtor to create a debt reorganization plan to pay back the debt generally at a lower interest rate and without fees over a set period of time.

Typically, the debts that can be discharged under Chapter 7 bankruptcy include credit card debt, medical debt and mortgage debt, if the debtor does not want to keep the house.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Sacramento area slowly paying down credit card debt," Mark Glover, April 5, 2013