As the country continues to struggle with a shaky jobs market, credit cards remain an easy source of cash that can quickly turn into an overwhelming burden for consumers. And there’s just one place in the nation—Alaska—where the typical person has higher credit debt than in Colorado, notes The Associated Press.
The average credit card debt here is now $8,741, well above the $7,382 national average. And as Metropolitan State College of Denver consumerism professor Darrin Duber-Smith points out, that means we just might be desperate. After all, home values have gone down and “loans are almost impossible to get. I think people are now having to use their credit card,” he says (via 9News).
Colorado, moreover, has a high cost of living, but wages haven’t kept up, and many people in the state are dealing with student loans. Some do buckle down and pay off the cards, Colorado Springs’ Fox 21 notes in a segment on a local couple who has paid off $80,000 in debts and loans. Money coach Bill Stanley says if you’ve got several cards, work to pay them off, then keep one or two but pay off the balance each month. Ask for a higher credit limit to pump up your credit score. “The credit score software looks at how much you owe at any particular time compared to the credit card limit. It also is strong on paying on time. Therefore, it’s wise from a credit score perspective to have a small amount on a credit card with a high limit.” Just don’t spend it.