His Financial Goals: Saving More and Paying Down Credit Card Debt

Graham Wood, AOL Real Estate
Graham Wood, AOL Real Estate

Everyone has things they want to improve about their financial lives, even those of us who are paid to write and think about money on a daily basis. To that end, the editors at DailyFinance and other AOL sites shared their 2013 goals with personal finance expert Jean Chatzky. Today she offers some tips to help AOL Real Estate editor-in-chief Graham Wood, who wants to be more disciplined about saving so he can wipe out his credit-card debt.

Here's what Jean suggested:

Step 1: Here's a helpful way to think about saving: It doesn't require "discipline" if you automate the process. You make the decision to save just once, and then you never have to think about it again. If you want the 10 percent to come directly out of your paycheck (versus an electronic transfer from checking to savings), head to your HR department with the account number, routing number and bank information of the account to which you want to direct that 10 percent.

Step 2: Paying off the credit card debt in the cheapest, fastest way possible is a four-step process. First, call your credit card company to see if you can negotiate lower interest rates on those cards (if you can't, look into a balance transfer). Next, figure out how much free cash you can throw against your debt each month -- the more, the better. Tracking your spending will help. Third, put that extra money toward the credit card with the highest interest rates, while still making minimum payments on the rest. Fourth, once that highest-interest card is paid off, repeat the process with the card with the next highest interest rate until all your debt is wiped out.

-- With reporting by Maggie McGrath

Tuesday: DailyFinance's Editor Wants to Lower Her Monthly Mortgage Payments.

Or, read the previous article in the series: Her Financial Goal: Get a Handle on Retirement Planning

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