When most of us find ourselves so incredibly deep in debt — credit card or otherwise — there’s not much we can do. If we’re lucky, our creditors will work with us to make a deal and lower our interest rate or give us more time to pay off what we owe. Rarely is debt ever just forgotten or canceled — that is, unless you are an impoverished country.
It’s been announced that a group of countries are canceling about $1 billion of debt that Afghanistan owes them. In March 2009, Afghanistan’s public debt was estimated at $2.1 billion; half of that is owed to the Parish Club, which, according to CNN, is “an informal group of creditor governments from major industrialized countries that meets monthly in Paris with debtor nations on restructuring their debts.”
The club is forgiving the debt partly because of Afghanistan’s involvement in the program Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. About $441 million of the debt is being forgiven due to participation in the program, while creditors are simply writing off the remaining $585 million. In exchange for the assistance, Afghanistan has pledged to use what would have been their debt repayment money to fund U.N. programs.
Don’t you wish someone would just swoop in and help you out with your debt? Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. But here’s a little help: Check out the best of the personal finance blogosphere from the past week below to learn how you can take control of your own finances and debt before they overtake you. Sure, it’s not a bailout the size of Afghanistan, but it’s a start!
1. Money Crashers highlights the pros and cons of using various forms of payments while traveling abroad, including credit and prepaid cards.
2. Free From Broke uses images to exemplify the changes you’ll see in your credit card statement due to the new CARD Act.
3. It’s never too late to start learning the basics of personal finance. WalletPop offers a detailed primer on the important differences between credit cards and debit cards.
4. Ask Mr. Credit Card explains how difficult it can be to claim credit card sign-up bonuses, and what he learned from a frustrating encounter with an airline credit card.
5. Debt Kid reveals that even with progress, long-term debt repayment can get boring, and that sometimes he just has the urge to go wild and spend some money.
6. The Digerati Life outlines the many things you should consider before you become a first-time credit card user.
7. Are you ready to break loose from that crippling debt once and for all? Christian PF outlines exactly what it takes to get motivated and get out of debt.
8. Moolanomy laments a new online game for kids involving “virtual money” that may lead children into a debt-ridden lifestyle later in life.
9. Cash Money Life lists 10 key things teenagers should know before they even think about getting a credit card.
10. These days, it seems that many children have the impression that money grows on trees. Man VS. Debt offers a list of eight great ways you can raise frugal kids.