Tips for Paying Down Debt

Like the rest of the country, California residents regularly seek advice for reducing credit card debt and weathering other financial challenges. The plan is typically to pay back debt now in order to have a strong financial future.

When looking at ways to pay down debt, the first piece of advice is to spend less. A simple yet effective way to reduce spending is to start by carefully tracking where all money is being spent on a daily basis. From here, a consumer can pinpoint spots where they can eliminate spending. That extra money can then go toward existing debt.

Outside of spending less to pay down more, increasing the amount of income a person brings home is another option. Of course, this may be easier said than done in the present economic climate, but there are ways that households can bring in more money, like possibly asking for a raise, taking on a side job or selling belongings that are no longer needed.

One thing that is not recommended is using a 401(k) savings account to pay off debts. While this could be detrimental in the future as it essentially depletes a person's retirement savings, it is also not financially the best idea since there are extra costs associated with having to pay income tax on the withdrawal, as well as a penalty for the withdrawal.

However, if right now a household is putting a lot into a 401(k), depending on their individual circumstances, reducing the percentage that is taken out of each paycheck could be one way to pay down other debts faster. If this is something that sounds plausible, the advice is to not have less than any company percentage match taken out.

Of course, for some people these ideas will not help them get out of debt. In those situations it's best to talk with a California attorney who focuses on debt relief to see what other options may be available.

Source:, "Paying down your credit card debt faster," June 23, 2012

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