The key is to pay off your credit card bill every month. If you don’t, you’ll accrue interest charges — and that means you’ll end up paying more for something than it costs. And, carrying too much credit card debt can adversely affect your credit rating.
A report from finance site WalletHub indicates the states with the highest and lowest credit card debt.
The numbers were compiled from first-quarter 2023 consumer data from TransUnion, as well as the Federal Reserve, adjusted for inflation.
In this article, I’ll show you the 10 states with the highest and lowest average credit card debt. I’ll also offer tips from Clark on what you need to do to get out of debt.
States With the Highest Credit Card Debt
|State||Household Credit Card Debt||Household Credit Card Debt Increase||Total Credit Card Debt||Total Credit Card Increase|
States With the Lowest Credit Card Debt
|State||Household Credit Card Debt||Household Credit Card Debt Increase||Total Credit Card Debt||Total Credit Card Debt Increase|
Clark says one mistake many people make is paying only the required minimum on their credit card bills. If you can’t pay off the full monthly balance, you should at least try to pay more than the credit card company requires.
“The key to getting out of debt is: Don’t let the lenders manipulate you,” Clark says. “They always state a minimum monthly payment that stretches out your loan as far as possible and earns them the most interest, costing you the most money.”
Get Out of Debt With These 3 Steps
Here are three steps that should help you get out of debt.
1. Set a Realistic Goal
The first thing you should do is come up with realistic expectations on how to become debt-free based on your income and lifestyle.
Clark recommends setting a goal somewhere within three years.
“I find when people set a five-year goal they tend to fall off the wagon. If they’ll plan for three years or less and stick to it, they’ve got a decent shot of getting it done.”
2. Reach Out to Your Creditors
If you’re in debt to several companies, it’s a good idea to contact them to see if you can negotiate a lower bill or get other payment concessions.
Some lenders may agree to drop some fees if you convert to autopay. If you go that route, start by reading these tips on how to use autopay safely.
Other creditors may be willing to let you refinance.
3. Tighten Your Spending
Clark wants you to create a budget so you can get a better handle on your spending.
“I want you to tighten the spending belt,” Clark says, “so you can put more money toward your debt.”
If you know exactly where your money is going each month, it will be much easier to find those extra dollars to make a dent in your credit card balances or other debt.
Credit card debt doesn’t have to eat a hole in your monthly budget. If you’re drowning from unpaid bills, Clark wants you to get serious about your finances and put together a plan — a budget — to live on less.
“A lot of people look at being told to do a budget as if their life is being restricted. But the whole idea of budgeting is freeing because you’re getting your life under control, creating more choices and reducing anxiety,” Clark says. “Tracking what you’re spending and then seeing where you can make changes in your life is powerful. This is about giving you power back into your life.”