Step Three, Part I: Take stock of your credit cards and loans

In my previous posts, I talked about how to learn your current credit status, and how to fix errors in your credit information.

Now comes a bit of a long winded but important step in reducing your debt. Take your time in reading it. Bookmark it and come back as many times as you need to. I'll still be here.

Hopefully, you already have a thorough awareness of your credit cards and loans, and how much you owe on each of them. If not, now is the time to make a list of them all for your own use. Keep this information on a private computer.

It may sound like a lot of work at first, but don't let this inaccurate impression stop you. In these days of computers and the Internet, it's much simpler than you may think.
Collecting your information can be as easy as opening a word processing or spreadsheet program and typing.

To make it easier, you can even copy/paste from your credit reports so that you can be sure to have a thorough list of what is officially connected to your identity. Just keep in mind that the balances shown in credit reports may not be up to date to the last minute, so it's best to update your actual balances from your paper or online bills. These bills are also where you will get information on any balance transfer offers available to you.

I suggest you collect the following information for each item on your list:

Credit Card / Loan / Bill Company Name
Amount owed / Minimum Payment
Current APR / Fees charged
What balance transfer offers are available if any?
Next bill due date

If you put this information together into one easy to read list, you can cross reference your accounts, and make better decisions on how to handle your payments, lower your APR, and pay off your balances.

Working through the next steps will also be easier with your list already on hand. You can write with a pen or use a computer or smartphone. This is all about what makes it easiest for you!

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