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How to handle credit card debt after you have lost your job

Credit card debt plagues numerous American households. In fact, a report from CNBC shows that the average family in America has over $8,000 worth of credit card debt. For some families, that number can be much higher. 

It is tough enough to pay off this debt when you have a job. It can seem almost impossible if you lose your job. Many people assume filing for bankruptcy is the only option at this point, but there are other steps to take first and other debt relief options to consider.

File for unemployment benefits

Depending on how you lost your employment, you may qualify for government benefits. This should be one of the first things you do after losing a job. Even getting only a little bit of money during this time can help greatly in making ends meet. 

Prepare an emergency budget

Hopefully, you have some money on-hand to be all right until you can acquire another job. However, you may need to cut back on certain expenses. Look at how much you spend on groceries, gas and other essentials, and see how you can reduce it. You may even want to cut fixed bills, such as internet or cable service. 

Look for new work

It is good to get a steady amount of money coming into the household again. It may not necessarily be your dream job, but when you need to make ends meet, you need to take what you can get. You can still look for work while you have this other job. 

Talk to creditors

Many people do not even consider the fact they can contact their creditors to adjust payments. If you get in touch with your creditor soon after losing employment, then the company may be more willing to work with you. Your creditor may even suspend your payments temporarily. At the end of the day, it never hurts to ask. 

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