Craig Biz Buzz for Jan. 5, 2015: Begin new year with plan to become debt free |

Craig Biz Buzz for Jan. 5, 2015: Begin new year with plan to become debt free

— Millions of Americans are starting off the new year in debt, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming and Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions.

No matter how much you owe, the following five tips from the BBB and Clearpoint can help you make changes to get out of debt and build a stronger financial future.

1) Set up a household budget to guide your spending patterns.

Adjust expenses to find extra money to pay down credit card and other revolving debt — even $50 per month will help.

2) Choose a method.

Debt management experts advise either paying off higher-interest balances first (this is the ladder method of debt repayment) or paying off smaller balances first (called the snowball method, because you build momentum). Either way, you’ll be moving in the right direction.

3) Ask for lower rates.

Most credit card companies will lower interest rates when asked, especially if you mention a “hardship plan.” Lower rates mean your payments go more toward principal instead of interest.

4) Send extra payments.

Make at least the minimum payment each month on every account, but send that extra amount to the chosen payoff account. As soon as that debt is paid off, put its payment and the extra toward the next account on your target list.

5) Stick to the plan.

It can be tempting to use your credit cards again once the balances are lowered, but that will only make it harder to get out of debt, and the process may take much longer. Resist the temptation and keep your eyes on your long-term goal.

To get started with your 2015 budgeting and debt reduction, check out Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions’ budget calculator at

For more consumer tips and information, go to

Meeting Tuesday to focus on economic development

An economic development committee meeting will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Bell Tower building conference room, 50 College Drive in Craig.

The team will be evaluating existing and potential economic development options in conjunction with the community assessment by Colorado Communities Inc.

Anyone interested in economic or business development is welcome. For more information, call Christina Oxley at 970-824-5689.

Oil and gas commission to reconvene Monday for rule-making

The nine-member Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will continue its penalty and enforcement rule-making beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.

The hearing will continue a rule-making that began Dec. 15 and 16, when testimony was provided. That portion of the rule-making now is closed and the commission will begin deliberations.

The meeting will take place at the commission offices, 1120 Lincoln St., Suite 801, Denver. The meeting also will be audio streamed on the COGCC website.

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