The average American has over $6,000 in credit card debt.
Even more shocking, it takes roughly five years just to pay off $1,000 of credit card debt due to interest rates.
These plastic cards make it all too easy to spend more money than we earn each month. We always swear to ourselves that we will pay it off immediately or get a credit card consolidation loan, but that rarely happens.
Additionally, having credit card debt makes it harder to get loans for nearly everything, including college, car and home loans.
Read on for 7 tips on paying off credit card debt!
1. Freeze or Ditch Your Credit Cards
Have you ever heard the expression “cutting a snake off at the head”?
It means, if you want to solve a problem, you have to “cut it off” at the source. For credit card debt, it means no longer giving yourself access to credit cards.
Let’s be honest, most credit card debt comes from impulsivity and lack of responsibility paying it off each month. In our society, we want things now.
Credit cards cater to our need for instant gratification.
Banks know and count on this. By the time most of us pay off our credits cards, we have spent thousands more than the money we actually used.
Cut the snake off at the head. Get rid of your credit card. If you feel you must hold on to it in case of emergency, call the bank and have them freeze it.
2. Cut Back on the Luxuries
A great way of paying off credit card debt is by cutting down on expenses by irradicating unnecessary luxuries.
Put ALL the money you saved on superfluous things into the credit card payment.
This will help you pay towards the principle, rather than just the collected interest.
Let’s talk about the things you can cut down on.
Cable TV is expensive. Most people don’t even watch the majority of the channels they pay for.
Secondly, with live streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video for a fraction of the cost, cable is hardly justifiable.
We all love our phones, however, the best phone plans come at a high price. Even if it’s just temporary, switch to a cheaper plan.
You can save $50 or more a month with a cheaper phone and phone plan. Once you’re back on top, you can get your regular plan back.
People love going to bars, clubs, and restaurants. But is it worth the hundreds of dollars we spend each month doing so?
Most people don’t track their spending. If they did, they would see the ridiculous amount of money they spend going out on the weekends.
Paying off credit card debt means making sacrifices. Right now, the last thing you need to worry about is getting new clothes, shoes, etc.
Most people only use 50% of their wardrobe, anyway. Therefore, if you really want to wear something different, just look a bit further back in your closet.
Cancel Unused/Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships
Gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, multiple video streaming services, and monthly box memberships are completely unnecessary.
Save hundreds of dollars, drop everything you don’t use or need.
Stop Buying Meals and Snacks out of Convenience
Convenience foods are expensive because companies know we are always on the fly.
To save money, don’t allow yourself to eat out at lunch or stop for coffee on the way to work. Use what you have at home. Saving five dollars a day on coffee adds up quickly.
3. Create a Monthly Spending Plan
Paying off credit card debt means creating a monthly spending plan.
Make a list of all the things you make payments on, including groceries, gas, and extraneous things like Starbucks, eating out and snacks from vending machines.
Get a good idea of where your money is going. Then, start cutting down the list.
Now, knowing how much money you aren’t spending on those things, you can see how much you can put towards credit card debt.
Prepare to have your mind blown.
4. Get an Online Installment Loan
One fantastic method of paying off credit card debt is applying for an installment loan.
Installment loans are personal loans for a set amount that you pay off in installments, monthly payments of a set amount with a set interest rate.
These loans are commonly used as a means to pay for a car, house, surgery, etc.
As a personal loan, the interest rate is much lower than that of a credit card, so you will end up paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars less.
Like any monthly payment, you can always pay more than the minimum to get out from under it sooner.
5. Find a Way to Make Money on the Side
Finding a side gig sounds difficult but it’s really not once you put your mind to it.
Find things people need and don’t want to do themselves. Offer to clean houses on the weekends or find a way to make money online.
The internet is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. Get an online writing gig or create a marketable blog.
Just be sure you don’t spend more money on this side gig than it makes.
6. Refinance Your House
Another popular method of paying off credit card debt is refinancing your house.
Most houses increase in value over the years, assuming you take good care of it. This is called positive equity.
Refinancing your house will allow you to get a loan for the new amount of the house. You can use positive equity to pay off debt.
However, don’t be frivolous with this money and buy more stuff you don’t need!
7. Create a List of Goals.
Once you decide how you’re going to start paying off credit card debt, make a list of goals.
Put down on paper what debt you want to pay off, how much it is, and when you want it done by. Give yourself a deadline, this will keep you motivated and strong.
However, the trick to this method is sticking to these goals and deadlines. No excuses.
Paying Off Credit Card Debt and Never Looking Back
When paying off credit card debt, you must promise to never fall back into it.
It is a difficult thing to resist, but we need to implement self-control and realize we don’t need this or that “right now.”
Do you really want to go back to being thousands of dollars in debt after all the work it took to get out of it?
Didn’t think so.
For more financial advice, tips, and ideas, check out our finance blog!