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Freezing your way out of credit card debt hell — The Federal Reserve’s most recent figures show revolving credit grew by 8.5 percent in November 1996 and taking credit cards to the freezer may be the best way out of credit card debt hell for most consumers.

“Using credit cards and saying ‘charge it’ will lead most people to 60 years of minimum payments” said Neil Schebetta who teaches adult education classes on credit card debt elimination.

Schebetta, recovering credit card junkie turned practitioner of what he preaches, has developed IBM-compatible computer software that computes the actual debt if minimum payments are made and suggests specific alternative plans out of credit card debt hell. It’s called Freedom, ($39.99, Self-Help Publishing, orders 800-852-4890).

“The key to eliminating credit card debt is not in increasing the minimum monthly payment – it’s in keeping payments ‘level’,” says Schebetta.

He gives this example: if a person carries $10,000 in credit card debt at 19 percent and consistently pays the two percent minimum monthly payment, it would take until January 2057 to pay off, including $35,898 in interest, assuming that there are no new charges on the card.

“However, if you simply maintain your monthly payment at $200, no matter how tempting it is to pay the lower minimum on your statement,” Schebetta says, “you’ll have the debt repaid by May 2006, with total interest of only $9,971.”

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