If you’re struggling with credit card debt, it can feel as though you’re drowning in quicksand. The more you struggle to get out of this high-interest rate debt, the deeper in debt you appear to be. There are things you can do, though, that will help you free yourself, once and for all, from credit card debt. These four tips can help.
1. Stop Using Your Credit Cards
This one sounds much simpler than it is. The first step is to understand and accept that credit card debt is bad for you, financially speaking, and must be corrected. The way you do this is by doing three things.
1.Review your finances
2.Set a budget
3.Look for ways to spend with only cash on hand
If you’ve been using your credit cards to fill in gaps, now is the time to break the habit for good and vow never to return.
2. Review Your Credit Card Rates
Review balances and interest rates on each of your credit cards. Direct your initial attention toward paying off the card with the highest interest rate first. Why? Because this is the card that will ultimately cost the most money. Once you pay that card completely off, move on to the card with the next highest interest rate and so on.
The one caveat is this - if you need to see instant gratification, that’s okay, many people do. If that is the case, then pay off the smallest balance first, and work in that order. It offers that inspirational boost many people need to remain motivated and keep going.
3. Always Pay More than the Minimum
Every credit card statement includes a minimum payment you must make. Many people pay this payment without giving it a second thought – never realizing that this payment is just low enough that they are likely only paying for the interest on their debt and never addressing the actual balance on their cards.
In other words, your principal balance remains the same if you only make minimum payments. To escape this endless cycle of credit card payments, you must pay more than the minimum payment each month. One suggestion is to make smaller payments throughout the month and a larger payment at the end of the month.
4. Consolidate Your Debt
Consolidating debt rolls all your debt into a single credit card or personal loan. Some people do this by opening a new credit card with a high balance and low introductory rate and transfer the balance of all other credit cards into that one account. The key is to pay off the balance before the low introductory period ends. Depending on your debt, you could save hundreds, if not thousands in interest.
Another way to accomplish this is by taking out a personal loan for a specific term and pay off the entire debt. This works because personal loans often have considerably lower interest rates than traditional credit cards. Plus, you are repaying the personal loan for a specific - rather than open-ended - period of time, so you know exactly when the debt will be paid off.
We’re Here to Help!
We understand that credit card debt can be a true struggle for families. As your credit union, we want to provide you with sound advice and guidance about credit card decisions. Debt consolidation loan options can spare you long years of repayments at sky-high interest rates.
We’re here to help you get out of that quicksand, and never get stuck again. Visit one of our convenient locations or work with our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness to learn more about how we can help you pay off your credit card debt and restore some degree of financial freedom.
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