Consolidating car payments

Depending on how much money you owe and what your overall financial picture looks like, it may make sense to ask a friend of family member to lend you the money.

But if you opt for this method, it’s important to be sure the loan terms and repayment plan are clearly outlined, just as they would be if you were getting a loan from a financial institution.

Also, if you’re unable to repay the loan on time, you might be putting their finances at risk.

Pros: If you pay off the balances you transfer before the introductory period expires, you could avoid paying interest charges on the transferred balance altogether. If you don’t pay off the amount you transfer (in full and on time) before the intro period ends, the remaining balance will accrue interest at the card’s regular rate.

Keep in mind that you may not be allowed to transfer balances between cards issued by the same lender.

And if you opt for a balance transfer, it’s especially important to pay on time because late payments may cancel the introductory APR offer.

Your credit counselor may also work with your creditors to negotiate lower interest rates or waive certain fees.

Cons: Some credit counselors may charge a fee for some of their services, and you may have to agree not to apply for new credit or use your existing credit if you participate in a debt-management plan.

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