AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF)- Many of us are working on paying off some kind of debt. In fact, Forbes says Georgia ranks as the state with the third highest credit debt to household income ratio.

When the pandemic started three years ago, everybody felt its impact. Today, they’re still feeling the weight of those impacts– credit debt is one of them.

“If you could live within your means, avoid high-interest credit card debts, and pay yourself first, that’s a good math problem for success,” Financial Advisor with First Command Financial Services Kevin Knitter said.

Certified Financial Planner Kelly Renner says there are many factors behind Georgians’ rising debt.

“We’ve definitely seen an uptick, across the country actually, just with covid, higher inflation. People are having a hard time just month to month. “ 

And that’s why local financial advisors and fiduciaries tell me it’s important to be financially literate and disciplined.  

“It’s really figuring out how much do you spend every month and trying to stay within that. But, we get into trouble, we overspend, then the key is paying attention. And when you see that you’re paying that interest, to start putting a little bit extra… finding ways to put a little extra,” Renner said.

Renner also says the key is to know what you’re spending and how you’re paying it back. 

“So, once you pay whatever that is that you’re targeting off– let’s just say it’s a minimum $25 minimum payment– you now take that $25, plus maybe that $25 that you were sprinkling everything else, and you apply it towards the next thing that you’re targeting.” 

And if you’re someone new, trying to establish or build good credit, there are things to look out for.

“Getting so many credit cards in such a short amount of time and all these credit hits cause your credit rating to go down,” Knitter said.

If you’re someone experiencing trouble with your debt, there are many ways to improve your credit score by making smarter financial choices. To find out how, visit First Command Financial Services or Life Strategies Financial Partners.