Finding debt solutions for the local residents of Ohio is not something to be taken lightly. Like many states, residents’ income data varies dramatically from one part of Ohio to another. This is an indication that the financial issues faced by Columbus residents will be significantly different. At least, different than those experienced by Cleveland households. However, the reality is that anyone in the state can be financially impacted by local conditions.
Understanding Credit Card Debt in Ohio
The median household income in Ohio continues to lag behind the U.S. average even though the state has recovered somewhat from lows recorded during the recent recession years. Ohio’s median household income was approximately $52,334 while the national figure is $57,617. That suggests Ohio residents are making do with less than other areas of the nation.
Like other states, lingering debts that originated during the recession years continue to cause credit issues for Ohio residents. It does not help that stagnant wages made it difficult to keep abreast of increasing living expenses while repaying old debts. Foreclosures of homes, repossessions of automobiles, and ever-increasing medical costs made it more difficult for residents to stay current on their obligations.
Many Ohio residents resorted to using credit cards for recurring expenses like groceries and utility bills. Obviously, this increased their balances even while real income failed to keep pace with budget needs. This led them in dire need of debt solutions to bring their finances back in order.
Ranking Ohio’s Economic Conditions
There are numerous factors that contribute to financial issues. This is why Ohio residents need to understand how the economy of the state compares to the remainder of the nation. Once real comparisons are grasped, it’s easier to understand why many Ohio residents are facing credit card and other financial problems.
The state’s median income continues to be roughly $5,000 below the national figures. Many residents find themselves constantly fighting an uphill battle just to pay basic costs of living. When income shortfalls occur, borrowing or using credit cards is frequently necessary, meaning debt levels tend to increase.
Rents or mortgage expenses are one area where Ohio residents get somewhat of a break. These costs are significantly lower than national averages. However, residents of most large urban areas will pay more for housing than those living in smaller communities, so the advantage is not universally enjoyed.
Buying food in Ohio is not cheaper than the remainder of the nation. This suggests that Ohio residents may be paying a disproportionate share of their income just to put food on the table.
Keeping the lights on and staying warm isn’t cheap in Ohio, and harsh winter conditions are likely to see many of the state’s residents struggling to pay heating costs. Again, many people will find it difficult to pay high utility bills without borrowing money or cutting other expenses.
The cost of healthcare is slightly lower than the national averages. But Ohio residents still have to deal with the dramatic increases in the costs of insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. That means they will continue to have difficulty keeping up with increasing medical expenses.
Even though some job growth is expected, economists expect to see wages remain stagnant in the coming months. That means Ohio residents will be forced to continue borrowing to pay bills. If spending cannot be reduced, many residents may well find it difficult to keep up with the mounting credit card and other consumer debt.
Understanding Why Debt Repayment Problems Occur
Even well-thought-out budgets can leave Ohio residents without the means to repay their debts. In some cases, overspending needlessly causes credit card repayment problems, but other situations can wreak havoc on a family’s budget.
Obviously, unemployment will always create financial issues, but underemployment is also an issue for many people. Even people working multiple jobs can experience times when keeping up with even minimum payments is problematic. Illnesses and divorce also tend to exacerbate financial issues, which means debt balances will increase even though those involved are doing everything they can to keep debts under control.
Repaying credit card debt can be difficult even for those whose income is higher than average when their circumstances change. Even a short-term decrease in income may result in getting behind on bill payments, and credit card companies are not always understanding.
Being Proactive Is Important
Far too many people fail to explore ways to find debt solutions that will get their credit card debt under control. It is true that everyone’s situations are different. However, financial counselors always suggest being proactive with credit card debt repayment rather than reactive is important. So, how can people accomplish that goal?
There are multiple strategies for reducing expenses, but most of them require making sacrifices. However, the majority of people quickly find out those sacrifices are worth the effort involved. Here are a few suggestions for cutting expenses so debts can be repaid.
Refinance older, high-interest mortgages
While this option is not available to everyone, many people continue to pay more than they need to for their housing. Interest rates are low, and many lenders have programs available to help homeowners reduce their payments.
Move to a less-expense apartment or home
At least, if you are renting. It is not surprising that renting is appealing in Ohio since it is cheaper at $759 compared to the national average of $981. While moving is not always easy, it will reduce rental expenses thus making it far easier to repay credit card debt. With rents on the upswing, it may be necessary to look for a cheaper place to live.
Get rid of cable or satellite TV
Cutting the cord is actually easy, with a variety of less-expensive options now available. Many streaming services make viewing popular channels easy and cheaper. Free channels are also available, making it possible to escape making any type of monthly payment for viewing television.
Eat at home
While it’s convenient to eat out rather than preparing meals at home, the costs of dining in restaurants can quickly get out of hand. Menu prices are also going up, which means the cost of eating out several times a week will be higher in the coming year.
Reduce utility costs
You can reduce gas, electricity, and even water bills. Turn off the lights when no one is in a room. Reduce the thermostat setting and wear a sweater around the house. Avoid spending too much time in the shower. If the faucet is leaking, have it repaired to cut water use. Turn down the thermostat on the water heater a couple of degrees. Every reduction in use will lower monthly utility bills.
Avoid going out as often
If you’re accustomed to going to the movies every week, it will pay to reduce those expenses. The cost for a couple attending a movie easily hitting $30 for tickets, popcorn, candy, and drinks. Even reducing those expenses by half can free additional money to reduce credit card debt. And, if you don’t have the money on hand, don’t compound the problem by using a credit card to pay for going to a movie.
Of course, there are other ways to cut expenses, so it’s important every Ohio resident explores ways to cut their expenses. Any steps taken to cut expenses will reduce the need for using credit cards for normal, recurring expenses.
Budgeting is always hard, so getting professional advice might be worth considering as part of your debt solutions. Credit counselors routinely help people with credit card debt problems. They also know how to make income stretch to better meet a family’s needs. If you’re having problems finding ways to balance your budget, it pays to ask for help.
Taking Other Steps to Get Payments Under Control
In some cases, consumers find they simply can’t cut corners enough to stay abreast of daily living expenses and repaying their credit card or other consumer debts. When that time arrives, there are other solutions worth exploring. If you’re too far in debt to recover without help, there are two options that may resolve your repayment problems.
Explore Using a Debt Consolidation Loan
One of the best ways to get credit card debt under control is to take advantage of a consolidation loan. The loan is used to repay all outstanding credit card debt. It allows the borrower to make a single payment each month that’s normally lower than would be required to make individual credit card payments. The interest rate for a consolidation loan is usually much lower than the credit card companies charge. That makes it easier and cheaper to repay the debt.
Discuss Debt Settlement Options
Debt settlement companies work with borrowers to reduce the total credit card debt. It is one of the debt solutions that you should consider. The settlement experts negotiate terms with credit card companies to make it easier for borrowers to repay their debts. While credit card companies are not required to negotiate repayment terms, most will.
The disadvantage of debt settlement options is they tend to have a greater impact on the borrower’s credit score. However, nonpayment of the debt will certainly have consequences as well. Obviously, the option is certainly worth discussing with a debt settlement professional.
Take the First Steps to Financial Freedom
Regardless of the debt solutions used to reduce credit card debt, the important thing is to get started now rather than later. With Ohio having one of the highest credit card debts in the country at $26.7 billion, there is obviously a lot of work to be done. Getting back on a firm financial footing is important, and finding ways to get out of debt now is vital. Contact a debt relief professional now to determine how best to attack your financial problems. Here is a video that discusses one of your options.