Let Joe Know looks at the best ways to pay off Christmas debt

PHOENIX - Consumers racked up more than $1,000 in debt this past holiday season, according to a new survey from Magnifymoney.com.

That could take months to pay off, but there are ways to get rid of the debt more quickly.

Get a better interest rate

Money expert Nick Clements says a low interest balance transfer could keep more money in your pocket.

"You could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars depending on what you get approved for and how disciplined you are," he says.

Clements' company Magnifymoney.com tracks financial trends and credit card offers. He says right now cards from Bank of America and Chase are offering very competitive rates if you qualify.

"Zero-percent for 15 months with no fee. Literally every dollar you pay is a dollar towards that principal balance so if you get really aggressive," he says.

Need more time to pay? Other cards offer 21 month, zero-percent balance transfers, but he says there is typically a 3 percent fee.

Give something up

Are you paying for an app you don't use? Is there a streaming service that you can drop for a few months? You can use that money to pay down debt more quickly.


Start using cash

If you're really serious about knocking out debt, Clement recommends going on a "cash diet" to "see where every last dollar goes."

He says start today.  "For one month just use cash. See where that last dollar goes and you'll learn a lot about your spending patterns."


Don't forget gift cards

I carry them, and still forget to use them. But remembering them, could keep you from spending more money that you don't have or in some cases before the store closes. For extra cash you could always sell them on an exchange website. Just make sure you check reviews and complaints about the company before doing business with them.

Other tips from Clements:

-Write down all of your debts to find out how much you truly owe
-Make more than the minimum payment
-Evaluate why you are in debt and figure out how to address it
-Start paying off smallest balance first. The quick boost will encourage you to keep going.

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