Before the recession, Suze says she would advise anyone with a severance payment or a small lump sum to put it toward debt. But as the economy changes, so must your financial strategy, Suze says—which is why she's changing the advice she's been giving for years. "If all you currently have is a very small emergency fund and you have unpaid credit card debt, ... you are only to pay the minimum amount due on your credit cards," she says. "Stash the cash till you have at least an eight-month emergency fund."

Calculate the interest your savings account will make.

Paying only minimums doesn't give you the license to rack up a bigger balance. "No credit card usage, everybody," Suze says. "Pay for things in cash."

Learn more about Suze's new credit card advice

Get Step 3 »

Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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