Have we come to terms with the realities of money and credit at last?

By April Lewis-Parks

While it is not surprising that a large number of Americans have begun to sort out their personal finances in the wake of the economic downturn, they have also become more cautious about opening new accounts, especially credit card accounts.

People’s credit card habits have been altered by the recession, according to a new study conducted jointly by researchers at Oregon State University and the French University Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord. In particular, older Americans are now far more likely to pay off their credit card bills every month while, most young consumers reported they carried some type of debt, but did not want to.

Have we come to terms with the realities of money and credit at last? I sure hope so… An educated credit card consumer is usually a wiser credit user. The Credit CARD Act of 2009 coupled with the recession has shed light on how credit should be used and may have helped people realize they are not supposed to live with high amounts revolving credit card debt.

If you are still struggling with debt, here are our top 5 money rules to get out of debt:
1. Start to live on cash and stop incurring new credit card debt.
2. Track your spending and carefully prepare a budget including fixed and flexible expenses.
3. Transfer high interest rate balances to one card with a low interest rate and stop using the card while paying at least each months incurred interest plus the minimum due.
4. If you are unable to transfer all balances call a credit counselor for advice and options.
5. If you are having a hard time paying your bills find out about Debt Management Programs by calling 1-800-728-3632. You can organize debts into one low monthly payment, reduced or eliminate interest charges, and help restore credit ratings.