Credit card debt isn’t ever a fun thing to deal with. Credit card debt can become consuming and a huge drain on financial resources. When you’re surrounded by an ever-growing mountain of debt, it can be hard to know where to start chipping away at it! Here are some tips to help you on your journey toward debt relief!
Outline Your Debts
Many people don’t know exactly how much credit card debt they have. Sit down and draw out every credit card you have and what the exact balance on that card is. Be sure to list what days the bills for each card are due and what the minimum payments are. Getting all of your debt outlined on one piece of paper may help you better visualize your goal.
Pay More than the Minimum
Paying just the minimum payment each month won’t help knock much of your debt out. Paying more than the minimum, even if it’s not much more, will help knock your debt out more quickly, while eliminating any extra interest charges.
Stick to a Budget
Draw up a budget for all of your other expenses and stick to it. Include things like food, gas, utilities, rent/mortgage, car payments, and other necessary expenses in your budget. Take a good look at the budget you’ve created and figure out where you can trim down to save more money, such as eating out or buying unnecessary clothing and going out to the movies.
Pay Off the Highest Interest Card First
If you have multiple credit cards, pay off the card that carries the highest interest rate first. This card will cost you more keeping a running balance than a card with a lower interest rate.
Bring in Extra Income
One of the easiest ways to help pay off credit card debt, is to do what you can to bring in extra money. If possible, look for a second part-time job, or offer your services for odd jobs, such as repairs or babysitting to your friends and family. Sell old and unused items on ebay and craigslist. Do what you can to bring in extra money and be sure to dedicate all of that “extra” money towards your credit card debt.
If you have multiple credit cards, and the credit available on a card with a lower interest rate is enough that you could transfer the balance from a higher interest rate card, then do it! Even though the debt still exists, you’ll be charged less for the existence of that debt on the lower interest card, than you would allowing it to remain on the higher interest card.
Call Your Creditors
Call your creditors and ask if a lower interest rate is possible on your account balance. Explain your financial hardship and your determination to pay off the balance. They may be willing to lower your interest rate. If they aren’t, be sure to ask about other payment arrangements that can be made to better accommodate your budget.
Stop Using Your Cards
It can be really easy to use your credit cards, especially once they begin to have more credit available on them as you pay them off. Don’t get sucked back into the vicious circle of paying down your balances, only to bring them back up again. If you struggle with not using them, and letting a bunch of small purchases on these cards add up, leave your cards at home! Don’t keep them in your wallet or purse.
Take steps to save money. If you don’t normally clip coupons, start doing it. If you don’t normally buy store-brands of food and other products, now’s a good time to start. Put the money you saved with coupons or different brands, even if it’s just a few cents, into a jar to go towards your debt. These savings will build up over time.
Evaluate Your Lifestyle
Take a look at your credit card statements and evaluate what the charges on your card were for. If you’re spending a lot of your credit line on fast food, and other unnecessary purchases, you may need to practice better impulse control. If you’re using your cards to pay for things like rent, and utilities, you may need to figure out a better way to live within your means.
Get Professional Help
There are organizations that are equipped to aid you in paying off your credit card debt and negotiate with your creditors, however, make sure that if you choose to utilize the services of these organizations, that you research the organization beforehand. There have been many people burned by some so-called debt-relief organizations.
Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt
15 Smart Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt