Many consumers struggle to pay their credit card bills every month. The weakened economy and housing market caused many families, including several in New Hampshire, to rely heavily on their credit cards to make day-to-day purchases. When coupled with rising interest rates and decreased income, the balances on many consumers’ credit cards may have become higher than they can afford to pay back. Financial challenges like this can be difficult to bounce back from, but a recent article offered several suggestions on what consumers can do to take control.

If a person is having trouble paying even the minimum balance on his or her credit card, there are several options to consider. The first, and perhaps most difficult, suggestion is to think outside the box for sources of fast income. Odd jobs, returning unnecessary purchases or even selling items are all possibilities. The amount of money made in certain circumstances can be surprising.

The next steps will involve a consumer approaching their credit card company directly. Calling the company and being honest about one’s financial situation can lead to solutions. Many credit card companies are not unfamiliar with consumers who have trouble paying their bills and they may be able to change the amount that is due or even delay the due date. They may also be wiling to take a partial payment. Once an agreement is established, it is important to stick to it and make it the first concern when any money becomes available to pay the bill.

Unpaid credit card bills are not uncommon and nothing to be ashamed of. New Hampshire consumers who find themselves in a similar situation can follow the steps outlined above in order to get back on track. When this is accomplished, new spending habits can be established to prevent financial challenges in the future. If a consumer is feeling overwhelmed by credit card debt, he or she may wish to file for bankruptcy in an effort to settle outstanding debts and to have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. It is a difficult process but not impossible — and sometimes important for one’s economic future.

Source: Nerd Wallet, What Should You Do If You Can’t Make Your Credit Card Payments?, Lindsay Meredith, Jan. 18, 2014