Ever wondered just how to pay off credit card debt and take back control?
Many of these cards were offered at some point to make your life easier right? Whether it was a “don’t pay for a year” deal, or “zero percent” for a year or the promise of lush vacations with all the points you would collect, they have all come back to bite you right, with these great deals quietly forgotten and high interest rates right?
If you have more than one card then you know just how difficult it can be to keep track of the spending on these cards and the statements and try to figure out just how much to pay. The credit card companies are depending on this to make their money.Credit: morguefile.com
It doesn’t take much to get in a little over your head or feel like you are treading water when life sometimes seems to throw the book at you. Whether it is a broken furnace in the coldest part of February, or the refrigerator dying in the middle of July, there just always seems to be something, and we quickly put it on a credit card.
Cards are great for emergencies, but when we don’t pay them off they snowball into something bigger over time. Ever notice that many of these card statements have the minimum payment in bold? That is so you will pay that amount when in a hurry to do your banking and bill payments! These minimum payments can take a life time to pay off a credit card debt.
So, just how to pay off credit card debt and get back on track? There are a few ways, but here are 5 that are not too painful and hopefully one way will work for you.
Snowballing – This is a good way to pay off credit card debt in my opinion. You will first need to get out every credit card statement you have. Now take a look at all the balances you owe on these cards. Take the lowest balance and concentrate on it first.
Many people will argue this method as it is not done by highest interest rates first, but if you are easily put off dealing with your debt, this is probably the best way for you, since as soon as you have paid off the lowest debt, you will feel more positive about tackling the others. It is nice to see a ZERO balance on a credit card statement.
It is done by paying the minimum payment on all the cards except the lowest balance one. You will do your best to cut back on other household expenses, or work overtime, or whatever way you can come up with more money and really work at getting this lower balance paid to zero. This particular card will become you new project.
Once you have done that you stop and pat yourself on the back for a job well done and then take that same money and apply it to the next credit card balance in line added to its minimum payment you were making, and this is called the snowball effect.
Combining Balances – This method can work well too. Simply take your statements out and really look at them. Find the one with the lowest interest rate, and see if there is any room left in the credit available.
If so, then call them and transfer your other card balances to this one credit card. This way you will reduce the amount of different payments you will have to make and with the lower interest rate you will pay it off quicker.
If there is not enough credit available and you have been good with your payments, phone them and ask them if they will raise the credit limit, and tell them what you want to do. They may do this depending on how good your repayments have been.
This way you now have one payment to make. Put as much extra money as you can towards this payment to get it paid off quickly. The trick here is to now get rid of those other cards or there is the danger of racking them up again. You want to stay in control.
Consolidation Loan – You can go to your local bank, and apply for a loan at a much lower interest rate to pay off these credit cards. This is a good way if you don’t want to have to deal with them or the card companies again, but the bank will close the other credit accounts for you, and you may not have as many options for credit cards afterwards.
They will set up a payment schedule for you, and you should be able to make extra payments on this. Make sure that option is made available to you. They may also want something to be held as collateral, so keep this in mind if going this route.
Equity Line of Credit on Your House – how to pay off credit card debt with your house? The bank will value your house, and then see how much mortgage you have owing on it, and the difference is your equity.
If you are lucky enough to have some equity, then they may let you have a low interest line of credit on that equity. You can then use this for anything from renovations to paying off higher interest debt such as credit cards.
This is a great way to relieve the pressure of high interest cards, but it can also be a dangerous way if you don’t make the payments as this is now on your house. Also, make sure you get rid of all those cards except for one low interest one that you can keep for emergencies only.
Then start making as big a payment as you can afford on that line of credit to get it paid down. With the line of credit attached to your house, the interest rate will be much lower and even taking all those minimum payments you were making on the different cards will addCredit: morguefile.com up big time towards getting them paid off with a much lower interest rate.
Negotiate Rates – If none of the above ways to pay off credit card debt appeal to you, or you don’t think they will work for you, then you can become a negotiator with the card companies. If the interest rates are killing you and eating up most of your payment, then you need to call the company and see if you can negotiate a better rate.
It can be done. If they fear you will not pay them or if you tell them you would like to transfer the balance of another credit card, they may just help you out. If you can actually get through to a person who can make decisions, then you stand a better chance. These statements are computer generated and sometimes just talking to a real person can make all the difference.
Even just dealing with this issue can put you back in control. Take an afternoon and put on a pot of coffee and really take the time to see where you money is going. Life gets busy and it can be much easier to say to yourself “I will make this minimum payment this time and then look at it next month” Then before you know it, next month is here again, and you will see on your credit card statement that you paid off very little.
How to pay off credit card debt? Take back control, by taking the time to look where your money is going and then make a plan in writing on just how you will get rid of the debt will put you back on track.