Control Your Credit-Card Debt

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Don't let holiday spending weigh on your credit-card bill in 2006.

With the new year approaching, MasterCard has a few tips for prudent personal finance that can help big spenders rein in credit-card debt before it gets out of control.

Simple as it sounds, it's often necessary to confront your debt. For some people, the mere thought of even looking at credit-card bills is too scary, to say nothing of paying them. The first step is getting past this fear and calculating the total amount that you owe.

Next, set a deadline for paying off your credit-card debt. Once this is determined, it is possible to calculate how much to pay each month, almost always more than the minimum required payment.

Keep your spending in line with this monthly payment. Set the amount of spending that is necessary for groceries, transportation, medical costs and utilities.

Keep a certain amount aside for unexpected costs like necessary car repairs, but don't let spending on nonessentials and big-ticket items interfere with the monthly payment you make.

Getting that payment in the mail each month is the most important step in trimming debt and interest charges.