Whether it’s a just a little or a whole lot, credit card debt can be a serious financial burden that can negatively affect both your present and your future. It may seem daunting, but there are ways to get out from under it. Here are a few smart strategies for paying it down.
The stress of credit card debt is often enough to inspire you to make a plan to be debt free. Once you commit, tackle just one card at a time, and start with your smallest credit card balance first. You’ll be able to pay it off quicker, and the sense of pride you feel once you’ve cleared that off your plate will push you to keep going.
Sometimes, you can combine the balances on several different cards with different interest rates into one debt with a lower interest rate, allowing you to easily pay the debt down faster. Balance transfers and home equity loans are two ways to do this. Just make sure you read all the fine print and understand the terms and rates of both options so you don’t end up paying more.
Put Them Away & Pay More
The interest on your credit card debt just keeps growing or at least, never shrinks, if you’re only making the minimum payments each billing cycle. Stop using them for several months, and consider doubling or even tripling the percent of your income you usually use to pay on credit cards so you can eliminate your credit card balances while they’re at a standstill. You can also call creditors and ask about a lower interest rate. If you’ve got a long history of paying on time, some credit card companies will negotiate with you.
The easiest way to free up extra cash so you can pay more than the minimum each month is to create a budget. By tracking your spending, you can see where every penny goes, and often, it’s not as hard as you think to find areas where you can cut costs. Making changes like eating out less and forgoing or delaying non-necessary purchases can really add up to big savings that you can use to pay down your debt.
Borrow from Yourself
If your current income and your new budget don’t allow you to bump up your credit card payments, dip into your savings. Don’t deplete them; you always need some emergency money. But don’t be afraid to take some out for the purpose of paying down debt. You can always rebuild your nest egg, and getting debt free is as smart as saving.
Make Extra Money
If you have things in a closet or under a bed (rugs, lamps, framed art, collectibles) that you’re no longer using but are in good condition, consider putting them up for sale online. Ebay is a great choice, but check into local facebook groups too. They take less of a percentage and since you’re selling to people near you, you won’t have to deal with shipping. Every lit bit helps!