Having a credit card handy can be a lifesaver during difficult financial times. However, if you let the debt get out of hand, you may make life even harder for yourself. Fortunately, here are 6 tips on how to effectively pay down credit card debt to free yourself more quickly and easily:
1. Make paying down your debt the top priority.
When you have an outstanding balance, it is crucial to do everything that you can to pay it down. By paying down your debt as quickly as you can, you will not lose even more money because of the finance charges or additional fees.
When paying down your debt, you will have to make sacrifices in other areas. For example, if you eat out less or purchase cheaper brands of various products, you will have extra money to pay down on your card.
2. Assess what debt to pay down first.
If you have multiple cards with outstanding balances, you need to work out what order you will pay them down in. For example, some people will tackle cards with the largest balances first to get them out of the way while others prefer to start with the smaller balances. Although paying off the largest balance is mathematically the best, paying down smaller balances is often more encouraging because of all the successes along the way.
3. Avoid accumulating penalty fees.
You can earn penalty fees for going over your credit limit, not making the minimum payments, making late or non-payments, and writing bad checks. Because the penalty fees will make the total amount owing even higher, it is best to avoid earning them however you can.
4. Do not use your card for further spending.
If you are in debt, avoid using your card until the balance owing has been paid off. Unfortunately, many people treat credit cards as “free money” and spend as much of the balance as they can. Instead, you should only use credit cards when you have the funds to immediately pay down the balance. By treating your card like your actual bank account, you will become more responsible as a consumer.
5. Pay down more than the minimum requirement.
Although paying the minimum requirement on your outstanding balance will help avoid penalty fees, it will not necessarily help you out of debt. Whenever possible, pay more than the minimum requirement to pay down the debt more quickly. However, just be sure to only pay as much as you can afford to while meeting all of your other financial obligations.
6. Speak with the credit card company.
If you speak with your credit card company, you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. In some cases, you may even be able to negotiate a lower balance as long as you are able to make the payment in one lump sum. However, exactly what is achievable will vary between companies, although it does not hurt to ask.
As long as you are determined, you will be able to find a way to effectively pay down your credit card debt. Just remember to always practice responsible spending habits to best avoid accumulating outstanding debt that can greatly affect your quality of life.