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A Diet for Your Debt

Are you still feeling the impact of the holidays? That extra helping of turkey or that second or third cookie might have inspired you to make a resolution about losing weight.


But that’s not the only place where we could use a little trimming. Our credit might also feel bloated and overweight after a Christmas season of extra spending. And when we get that credit card statement in the mail, it feels the same as adjusting your belt buckle – not good! So if you’ve been making a weight-related New Year’s resolution, perhaps it’s time to put your credit on a much-needed diet as well.


If your credit card statements are bulging, one of the first things you should do is make a plan to pay them off as quickly as possible. After all, failing to pay off your Christmas debt can lead to extremely high interest payments that could eventually see the cost of your gift purchases doubled or tripled within a few months.


To tackle holiday overspending:


*As quickly as possible, pay off all of your credit cards so that you are no longer carrying a balance.


*If you can’t pay off your credit cards in full, pay them down as much as possible. If all of your cards are close to the max, it will hurt the revolving credit portion of your FICO Score.


*If you can barely pay your credit cards down, at least make the minimum payments to avoid late charges and an outstanding notice on your credit report. Don’t skip your credit card payments. Just a single missed payment can hurt your FICO Score.


If necessary, go on a spending diet in the next few months to keep yourself from adding new charges to your credit cards. Take some of your credit cards out of your wallet and keep them in a safe place at home if they are too much of a temptation in your wallet.


Available credit is critical! It ensures that we have money when we need it. If the holiday season left your credit debt bloated, it can reduce your future available credit. If that’s the case for you, put your credit on a diet and get those credit card statements slim and trim again!


Jeanne Kelly is a nationally recognized voice in credit consulting and author of The 90 Day Credit Challenge.  For more information on Jeanne, visit


  1. If you have several credit cards, use the debt snowball strategy. To save the most money start with the highest interest rate one first and work your way down. If you’re the type that needs a mental victory fast in order to feel like you’re making progress, then start with the one with the lowest balance first.

  2. larry bell says:

    so here’s what i really don’t understand. my payment record is VERY GOOD, my amount of debt and length of credit is GOOD. but because i have “shopped” for credit from various sources, my amount of credit is NOT GOOD. that brings by over all score to NOT GOOD. 640. this doesn’t make sense to me, since my equifax score rates my payment history as VERY GOOD, my amount of debt as NOT GOOD, and my length of credit and amount of credit as both GOOD. still overall credit is NOT GOOD at 659.

    and to think that these CORPORATIONS have control over how we can live.

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