Making Resolutions for a New You in 2006?

Start by Slimming Down Your Debt

Date: January 3, 2006

Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514, [email protected]

ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO—While many people will make the traditional promise to lose weight or quit smoking this January, one New Year’s resolution that truly could benefit Americans is to get out of debt and begin a regimen of healthy financial management. According to CardWeb, the typical household carried an average of $9,300 in credit card debt in 2004.

“Clearly, there’s no better time than now for consumers to set goals and develop an action plan to eliminate debt and improve their financial well-being,” said Nan Mead, director of Communications for the Colorado-based National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®). “As holiday bills begin to roll in this January, paying down debt quickly and resolving to stay financially fit throughout the year should be everyone’s number one priority.”  

            The best way to jumpstart financial resolutions in 2006 is to develop and implement a “get out of debt plan” that will not only help eliminate debt obligations now, but also stop it from piling up again in the near future. Mead suggested the following tips to help consumers:

Assess the debt. Make a list of how much money is owed to each creditor and note the interest rate of each card. Being able to see exactly how much debt  has built up will help you develop a plan to pay it off. If you’ve been reluctant to do this, take it as a warning sign that you can’t put it off any longer.

Develop a “debt priority” approach.  Determine the debt with the highest interest rate and put any extra cash toward that obligation first. Once the largest balance is paid off, continue to pay the same amount toward existing debt, prioritized by the next highest interest rate.

Cut something out. Pick one item or activity you regularly spend money on, such as buying new clothes or dining out, and commit to living without it for a set period of time, perhaps one or two months. Then, use the money you would normally spend on that item or activity to help pay down debt, or put it towards a savings account. 

Be careful with credit. While you are trying to erase your debt, use credit cards sparingly. When making a purchase, ask yourself whether the object is a “need” or a “want.” If you wouldn’t consider borrowing money to buy an item, it probably isn’t worth using your credit card to buy it.

Start saving today. To avoid falling into debt again, begin smart money-management habits right away. Start the new year off right by dedicating yourself to saving regularly, even if it’s only a small amount. The next time a financial need arises, you can use the reserves now at your disposal instead of going into debt.

For more tips on how to eliminate and stay out of debt, and get into the savings habit, visit—an interactive and user-friendly collection of personal finance information of all kinds. The Web site was developed by the National Endowment for Financial Education to help all Americans achieve their financial goals.



  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]