Katie O'Brien
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Tips to Relieve your Credit Card Debt

Image Credit: Flickr

According to a recent Bankrate report, about one-quarter of Americans owe more money to credit card companies than they have in savings.

Since 2011, the number of Americans saving more than they owe has increased from 51 percent to 58, however, analysts believe some Americans are still experiencing after affects of the recession that began in 2008.

Here are some tips to help you manage your credit card debt:

1. Calculate your debt

Take a look at your credit card statements and calculate your debt, as well as the interest rate for each card. The only way to devise an effective plan is to be honest and meticulous while calculating. Misjudging the interest by only a few percentage points can throw off your overall debt number by hundreds, sometimes thousands.

Once you are familiar with the total amount you owe, you can begin planning your repayment.

2. Decide on budget cuts

Examine your total expense budget, including mortgage, utilities, car payments, cell phone bills, travel, eating out, entertainment – everything you spend money on per month. Then, take a look at your bank statement and calculate your expenses in relation to your income. Review these categories critically and decide where you can make cuts. Skipping that $10 lunch everyday in exchange for bringing your own may seem like it won't make a difference, however, lifestyle changes like this add up and will ultimately help shred your debt. 

3. Limit card use 

Do you have $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 in debt on your American Express (NYSE: AXP), Visa (NYSE: V), or other credit card? Your best bet is to stop using them. Take the cards out of your wallet and keep them in a safe place at home. The further away the temptation, the better.

4. Gain expert advice

If the process is too overwhelming to handle by yourself, it’s perfectly acceptable to seek professional assistance. Depending on the steepness of your debt, consider hiring a financial advisor. These professionals can help lay out a plan to help gain control of your debt.