Credit card debt can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty in our lives while also preventing us from achieving important goals like purchasing property, a car, or another dream expense. A diminishing credit score, as well as debts that either sit or accumulate, can make us feel trapped and uncertain about the future. The most important thing to remember when you have credit card debt is that you must focus on the goal of lowering that debt before you focus on other goals, like saving money, and we’re here to provide you with 7 tips on how to pay your credit card debts.
1. Earn more money with a side hustle
If your credit cards are sitting with a lot of debt, you may want to consider the easiest solution, just making more money! Perhaps you have a creative skill that you can use in the freelance world, or you have time to pick up a part-time job. Another option would be delving into the world of stock trading, as there are stock services and tools out there to help beginners, such as those developed by the motley fool.
2. Focus on the card with the highest interest rate
If you have overwhelming credit card debt, chances are you have more than one credit card. A lot of credit cards with higher limits typically have a higher interest rate, and simply making the minimum payments on those cards will just end up costing you more and more in interest every month. Credit card insider refers to the avalanche method, which entails putting any extra money towards the credit card with the highest interest rate, and then tackling the card with the second-highest interest rate, and so on.
3. Alternatively, tackle the cards with the smallest balances first
Credit card insider notes that this method will give you the motivation to continue paying your debts, as fully paying off one card is a small victory you can enjoy while working towards your ultimate goal. This is called the snowball method and involves paying off the cards with the smallest balances while maintaining all of your minimum payments. It will encourage you and can improve your credit score, giving you more momentum.
4. Make sure you pay more than the minimum payment
If you’re trying to hold onto savings while just paying the minimum payment on your credit cards, you will be stuck in limbo for quite some time. You won’t achieve either goal of having savings or getting out of debt and it’s much better to pay more than the minimum payment, however much more you can afford, and chipping away at your debt. Just make sure you have enough money to spend on monthly expenses in your account, and put the rest towards your debts.
5. Create a budget and stick to it
This goes without saying, but you should cut out any extra spending on luxury items and not allow yourself to go shopping for clothes and other leisure items until you’ve reached a milestone in paying off your debts. You should also take the time to sit down and draft a budget plan, figuring out how much you need every month for rent, groceries, bills and transportation and how much you need to significantly lower your debt. You should do everything you can to stick to this budget, which may include avoiding restaurants and take out, spending less on outings with friends, etc.
6. Consider a balance transfer
Some credit cards have exclusive offers for balance transfers, which means you can transfer credit from a new card you’ve been approved for to an older card with an outstanding balance, escalating minimum payments, and high-interest rates. A card with a low-interest rate should be the one you’re using to transfer credit. Investopedia notes that if you’re considering this tip, you should be aware of transfer fees.
7. Ask for help
This may be a controversial tip, but when you think about it, it’s better to have a loan you need to pay back without interest than to have credit card debt sitting, collecting interest. If you are lucky enough to have a trusted loved one who can help you pay your debts, you can promise to pay them back in the future while your credit score drastically improves. Of course, we understand this option does not exist for many people, but if it’s a possibility, you may want to consider swallowing your pride to help your financial future.