Some Connecticut residents and others around the country may be dreading the arrival of their credit card bills this month. It can be easy to overspend during the holiday season, yet difficult to face the aftermath when the statements arrive. Yet those in need of debt relief who already struggling to make ends may only be able to make the minimum payments due each month. Experts share how this practice can affect a person’s long-range financial situation.

National reports show that the average household has over $8,000 in debt. Balances of this amount could be paid off in roughly 13 months if consumers applied around 15 percent of their income to the bill. However, credit counselors suggest putting only 5 percent toward the debt, thus lengthening the period of time for repayment. Many cardholders pay only the minimum amount due, which is usually around 1 percent. Using this approach would leave a consumer paying on that $8,000 balance for two decades.

Given the average credit card interest rate of just under 17.5 percent, a person would rack up around $11,000 over the repayment period. Financial advisers suggest several approaches to avoid such hefty expenses. One recommendation is to always pay more than the minimum payment due. Another option is to consider a zero percent introductory rate on a new credit card and transfer existing balances to it. Many cards offer fairly long introductory period and additional interest expense can be avoided while paying down the debt.

Unfortunately, many people do not have the extra income to be able to pay down their credit card debts. While parts of the economy have rebounded, there are still those who are have significant financial issues trouble. A Connecticut bankruptcy attorney can speak with individuals about various solutions for debt relief and can recommend specific plans to meet their needs.