Credit card debt has become as American as apple pie, and Georgia is no different. The state ranked among the top 10 for the highest credit card debt increase in 2019, coming in at No. 7.
The total credit card debt increase for Georgia was more than $1 billion, according to a new ranking by WalletHub. Americans as a whole began 2019 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt.
California topped the list with a whopping debt increase of $4 billion, followed by Texas and Florida.
With an average of $8,602 per household in 2019, credit card debt has increased by 5 percent in the past year. So it’s no surprise that credit card debt is now at the second highest point since the end of 2008 after reaching an all-time high during the past few months of 2018.
U.S. consumers started off 2019 on a high note and were able to pay off $38.2 billion during the first half of the year. But that was quickly toppled during the second half of the year when they added $35.6 billion in new credit card debt.
So what does this mean in the long run? Historically, instances of high credit card debt are followed by a recession, because high interest rates can cause ballooning.
But it’s not all doom and gloom just yet. Here are several practices WalletHub and others say you can start today to reduce your credit card debt:
Always have an emergency savings fund. Accidents happen, but they don’t have to set you back financially. Make sure to have a small sum of money set aside for unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical bills.
Create a budget and stick to it. It’s a good idea to track your expenses and make sure you’re not spending any more than you should. Build a budget of all your necessary expenses and don’t go beyond it.
Repay your most expensive debt first. Most people have multiple credit cards, which can be a good thing when it comes to improving your credit, but one of those cards will have a higher interest rate. Be sure to pay off the card with the highest rate first.
Be sure to make minimum monthly payments. This one goes without saying, but you should never fall behind on your monthly payments. Missing monthly payments can hurt your credit score, and can lead to higher interest rates and late fees.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.