JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Households in the Sunshine State average $8,363 in credit card debt -- the ninth highest amount compared to household income among the 50 states, according to CreditCards.com. Georgian's debt is even higher -- $8,739 -- ranking it eighth highest in the nation.
The holiday season accounts for a lot of that credit card spending, and there are enticements to sign up for a new credit card. It can have benefits like raising your credit score. But if you don't pay it off each month, you can get yourself in some financial trouble.
Using the CreditCards.com figures, with the median Florida household income of about $52,594, if 15 percent of that was devoted to paying off the debt, it would take 15 months and cost $1,158 in interest. In Georgia, with $56,183 in average household income, it would take 15 months and $1,190 in interest payments to pay off the debt.
The highest average credit card debt is over $10,000 in Alaska, but with a median household income of $73,181, the 15 percent payoff would take 14 months. New Mexico and Louisiana had the highest debt compared to income, where it would take 17 months to pay off debt if 15 percent of household income were dedicated to credit card payments.
In Massachusetts, where the median household is $77,385, the average household devoting 15 percent of income to debt could pay off its credit cards in nine months, costing only $708 in interest.
If you're already in debt, Krier said it's all about strategizing a way to pay it off as quickly as possible. The first step would be to make a list of all your credit cards.
"Figure out which one has the highest rate, cut the card up and just pay that one off and work your way down the list," Krier said.
He also advises people to always pay more than the minimum. A balance transfer credit card may help, but be sure to read the fine print. Transfer your balance only to a credit card with zero interest and pay it off as quickly as possible. There are also several organizations that can help you consolidate and manage your debt, like debt.org.
Credit card debt in states relative to household income