This is a guest article by Donna Freedman. Donna has been a staff writer for MSN Money and Get Rich Slowly. She now lives and writes the frugal life in Anchorage, Alaska for Money Talks News and her own blog, Surviving and Thriving.
Got debt? Do something about it.
That’s the focus of a new debt management campaign from personal finance guru Mary Hunt and Chase Slate. The “Do Something About Debt” program is a 15-day series of tried-and-true tactics, advice and personal encouragement.
Each year plenty of people resolve -– and fail -– to pay what they owe and to adopt smarter spending habits. Hunt can identify, because she’s always been candid about her own financial low point: more than $100,000 in unsecured debt and interest. It took her and her husband more than 13 years to make good on their obligations.
But pay it back they did, and Hunt vowed to use her newfound knowledge to help keep others from making the same mistakes. She also swore to help those already in debt to recover and learn to live fully and joyously without overspending.
The new campaign began January 16 and continued through January 30. All the articles are remaining up at the Do Something About Debt site, so you can catch up any time you like.
The usual personal finance tools are included, such as creating a budget, understanding interest rates, the pros and cons of credit, planning for irregular expenses, avoiding certain financial missteps and examining your money attitudes. But Hunt is adding a new weapon to her arsenal: the Chase Slate card, with a zero-percent APR on balance transfers.
Those who qualify will be able to pay off existing credit card debt without interest for 15 months. In addition, there’s no fee for balance transfers taken out within 60 days of obtaining the card.
Not everyone who falls into debt has been out joyriding with the family card. Illness, layoff and natural disasters can send even the most responsible person into the red. Or maybe you truly don’t understand how it all happened. Maybe no one ever talked with you about debt except to say, “Sign here for your car loan/credit card/student loan.”
The bad news is you’re still on the hook for what you owe. The good news? Using Hunt’s tips and, maybe, consolidating current debt onto a Chase Slate card will help you work your way back onto firm financial footing.
“This is not some kind of a freebie. You’re going to have to come up with a plan to pay,” Hunt says. “But sometimes we just need an extra break. (Debt) is not ideal –- but that tree falling on your house wasn’t ideal, either.”
While optimistic in tone, the program is tempered by a strong dose of realism: There are no quick fixes but there are sure fixes –- if you’re willing to do the work.
“That’s a powerful message: that you can do something about it,” Hunt says.
Curtis Arnold, senior editor at CardRatings.com, included Chase Slate on his best balance transfer credit cards list, saying the card is an example of “what can happen when banks build long-term partnerships with customers who want to become debt-free.”