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The average American carries approximately $6,375 in credit card debt. For many, the stress associated with trying to pay off this high level of debt is significant.
If you find yourself in the group of people stressed about how to go about paying off credit card debt, you will be happy to learn there are some tips and tricks you can use. While your debt may seem insurmountable now, with time, effort, and dedication, you can get out of debt for good.
If you’re ready to learn what steps to begin taking, keep reading.
Are you carrying a balance on more than one credit card? If so, you need to make sure you are always paying the minimum required on each.
However, don’t stop there. Once the minimums are paid, you need to concentrate on paying down the balance on each card. Be sure you choose one card to focus on at a time.
You can choose the card with the highest interest rate to pay off first, or the one with the smallest balance. Both of these strategies are effective but choose the one that works for you, and then stick with it.
If you want to get out of credit card debt and stay out of it – for good – you have to take some drastic steps. One of these is to destroy the cards.
Regardless of what you think, there is no such thing as responsible credit card use. There is no good reason to keep these cards around, especially the department store cards that would not even be helpful in an emergency situation.
While this step may sound somewhat drastic, it’s the only surefire way you won’t get right back into credit card debt once you have paid everything off.
Another option is to consolidate your debt. You can combine several of the higher-interest balances into a single payment. In most cases, the transfer fee is going to be three to five percent, but you can compensate for this with the savings you are going to see from the transfer.
If you have any equity in your home, you may be able to use that to pay down your credit card debt, as well. Home equity lines of credit often provide a lower interest rate than what the typical credit card charges.
It’s important to understand that closing costs will apply. However, the benefit is that the equity interest payments are usually tax-deductible.
If you choose the consolidation path, remember, you need to control your spending. This can help you avoid accumulating new debt, along with the debt that’s just been consolidated.
If you are planning to pay off and destroy your credit cards, then you still need to ensure you have some type of safety net for emergency situations. This is where an emergency fund comes in.
Building an emergency fund can take some time, but it will also be valuable if you encounter an unexpected expense or some type of income disruption. All you have to do to create an emergency fund is put a little back from each of your paychecks. By doing this, you can avoid missed payments and the need to use a credit card in the future.
You need to get a handle on your budget and make sure you fully understand what it is and how you can make the most of it. For example, top priorities should be transportation, groceries, housing costs, and entertainment.
A great way to begin this reorganization process is by looking at your credit card statements, as most issuers categorize your spending.
Be sure you scrutinize this information closely. Find areas where you can cut back how much you are spending. Then take the money that you have “found” and put it toward paying down the debt you have.
If you are like most people, you didn’t get into credit card debt overnight. As a result, you are aren’t going to be able to get out of it that quickly either (unless you find a windfall of some sort).
Be patient and continue on the path to living a debt free life. While this is bound to take some time, in the end, it will be well worth it, and you will be in a position to take charge of your finances and finally achieve the financial freedom that you want and need.
There’s no question that paying off credit card debt is something that takes time. However, it’s possible when you use the right tactics and rely on the right information.
Be sure to use the tips and information found here, as they’re going to help you on your journey to financial freedom. You may also want to reach out to a financial advisor, who can provide you even more information on how to best manage your finances to remain debt free.
If you are ready to take control of your finances, rather than letting them control you, we can help. Our team can provide the information you need on any finance related topic. For example, we have a recent blog on how to take the pain out of monitoring your finances.
Stay tuned to our blog for more insights.
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