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Debt, especially credit card debt, can be overwhelming because you have to pay it off as soon as possible otherwise, it will keep increasing. This can be more stressful when you have multiple credit card debts. However, it is important to note that credit card debt can be controlled and tackled.
This step by step guide will help you understand how you can pay off credit card debt, even when it seems impossible. But before we discuss that, it is important for you to first learn how debt works and how it can affect your credit score.
How Credit Card Debt Affects Your Credit Score
Consumers by the millions needs coronavirus credit relief. Your credit card debt can have a ripple effect on your credit score, which can potentially last you for the rest of your life. When you do not repay your debt on time, your creditor, usually the credit card company, could report it to the credit bureau. As a result, that would have an impact on your credit score for at least seven years, and you may also have to pay a late fee.
This is because it will have a negative impact on the percentage of available credit you will be using. This is also otherwise known as credit utilization, which has a direct effect on your credit scores. You should thus aim to pay off full balances each month to avoid a poor credit score.
Moreover, credit card interest rates, also known as APR, are typically very high, which is why credit card debts can become overwhelming. This is because you have to pay an APR on each card every month. Thus when you are making even the minimum payments for your debts each month, you will also be paying the interest rates, which is avoidable if you completely pay off this type of debt in one go.
How to Pay off Credit Card Debt
Cut Up All of Your Credit Cards
When you are trying to pay off your credit card debts, it can become tempting to continue using your cards to make more purchases. Additionally, even credit card companies might lure you into using your cards by offering special discounts. For this reason, you should cut up your credit cards or hide them somewhere, so you do not get tempted to use them and ultimately increase your burden.
Consider Interest-Free Balance Transfer
Find out whether you qualify for an interest-free balance transfer. If so, you can transfer your balance to another credit, offering a lower interest rate or none at all. These may help you with your monthly payments and allow you to get your balance paid off faster. You should close your old credit card after transferring. Otherwise, you might be tempted to use them again and potentially fall into debt.
Use a Debt Repayment Method
There are two main types of debt repayment methods you can use:
Debt Avalanche: in this method, you have to pay off the debt with the highest balance first. This minimizes the total amount of interest as you pay off your debts. If you only have credit card debt, you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate (APR) first.
Debt Snowball: In this method, you have to pay off the debt, which has the highest balance first, regardless of their interest rate. You first arrange each of your debts from the highest balance to the lowest and then start paying them off. This gives you more motivation to take control of your finances and make more payments.
Reduce Your Expenses
Create a monthly budget that cuts out all the unnecessary expenses you do not need, and then stick to this budget throughout the month. This way, you will be able to save enough money to eventually pay off all your debts. Some of the ways you can do this are by redeeming loyalty points from grocery stores, cutting back on entertainment packages you do not use, and reducing the amount of times you eat out.
Get a Side Hustle or Part Time Job
If you want to pay off your debt fast, you need to increase your monthly income. You can do this by increasing the hours you work at your current job or getting a part-time job alongside your full-time job. Additionally, if you have some talent, for example, writing, tutoring, or playing the guitar, you can adopt a side hustle through them and earn extra money.
Consider Debt Consolidation
If you are struggling to make monthly payments and have a good credit score, you can consider debt consolidation. This involves streamlining your monthly credit card debt payments into one payment. You basically get one loan to pay off your existing credit card debts and then work towards paying off that one loan. This usually has lower interest rates than credit card payments and does not affect your credit score either. This would be a good option for certain people.
Don’t Only Make the Minimum Monthly Payments
We do not recommend that you only make the minimum monthly payments of your credit card debts because you would not be making any significant progress towards being debt-free. Take action and consider using either the debt snowball or the debt avalanche approach to paying off your debt by overpaying the debts.
Automate Your Credit Card Repayments
While you are paying back the debt for your other credit cards, do not fall into debt with the other ones. To avoid this, consider automating your credit card payment and repayments if it is possible.
Credit card debt can become a vicious cycle that seems to have no end if you continue making the minimum monthly payments. Not only will you be losing time, but you will also not save enough money either.
Create a monthly budget that you can stick to and reduce your expenses to start saving up. Then, increase your monthly income through a part-time job or side hustle, and then consider which debt repayment method is suitable for you and begin paying off your debt. This may seem like a hard challenge, but it is certainly not impossible.