Becoming debt- free is not mission impossible
Credit card debt is one of the biggest financial burdens you can carry because it usually starts small and then quickly grows big and overwhelming.
Here are 6 valuable tips to help you pay off your credit card debts quickly:
1. Stop using your credit cards
It’s hard to pay off your credit card debt when you continue to use them. For those in the midst of a financial crisis, this may be hard to avoid, but if you are just spending on your cards out of habit, you may never get out of debt.
If you are serious about paying off your credit card debt, switch to using cash, or at the very least, only spend what you can afford to pay off every month.
2. Increase payments
Simply paying off what you spend on your credit cards isn’t enough to get you out of debt. You will need to increase the amount you pay if you want to make any headway at reducing or paying off your debt.
No amount is too small to add to your monthly payments. Even an extra $10 or $20 per month could help you reduce the long-term cost of your credit card debt.
3. Use a 0% balance transfer offer
If you can’t quite manage to pay down your debt right away, you can at least buy yourself some time by taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer.
Typically, these types of balance transfer offer last 6-12 months. If you are temporarily falling behind in paying down your debt but anticipate better times ahead, this might be just the kind of breathing space you need. Bear in mind that most balance transfer offers advertise a 0% rate but also charge a 1% to 3% fee at the time of the transfer.
4. Consolidate to a lower-cost loan
The No. 1 rule when it comes to paying off your credit card debt is to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.
While you will still be accruing interest on your debt, cutting your interest rate can help slow the compounding effect. For example, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt at 18% and consolidate that to a 6% personal loan, you could save $1,200 per year in interest costs.
5. Negotiate with your creditors
Don’t just accept the interest rate that your credit card company sets without any questions. But you might be surprised to learn that you may be able to negotiate that interest rate down.
While you won’t always succeed, it never hurts to ask. Knocking even a few percentage points off your interest rate could result in significant savings.
In the worst-case scenario in which you simply can’t pay your cards, you may be able to reach some type of negotiated settlement with your creditors. This will damage your credit score but maybe a way to reduce your overall debt and set up a reasonable long-term payment plan.
6. The snowball method
Alternatively, you might consider the debt snowball method. With this strategy, you repay the debt by the amount owed, smallest debt to largest, regardless of interest rate. This way, you are racking up wins—and everybody wants immediate wins.
The ability to pay off a credit card one by one is also very empowering.