Credit card debt. Three of the most dreaded words in the English language. No one wants to think about, talk about it or even face the truth of it. It’s painful, ugly and overwhelming.
And it makes me really sad because last year, I got myself soooo close to wiping out my credit card debt and then something happened (who knows what!) and I slowly watched the bill grow every month. Fortunately, I made a plan to pay off debt and got the balance down to zero to start 2016. And now I have a can’t-fail plan that you can start today to pay down your credit card debt this year.
Here’s my plan:
- Figure out exactly how much debt you have on every credit card and write it down so you have to really see it.
- Call the card issuers and try to negotiate a lower interest rate. This can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in interest. Another option is to transfer debt to a credit card with a balance transfer special — look for 0% interest for 18 months. (Beware of the fees associated with balance transfers!)
- Choose a payoff strategy: Either pay off the highest interest rate card first and pay just the minimums on the others, or pay off the card with the lowest balance first. This isn’t the most cost-effective way to do it, but psychologically it can help to pay off a card and get rid of it for good.
- Find three things to cut back immediately (Starbucks, eating out and a cable bill worked for me).
- Delete your credit card information from the shopping websites you like to visit most — Amazon and iTunes were the two I targeted.
- Put your credit cards in your desk drawer. Studies show people don’t spend money as quickly if they’re using cash.
- Track your daily expenses. To help me move to a cash-only lifestyle, I tracked my daily expenses for one month, including all my regular monthly expenses and utility bills.
- Figure out how much discretionary income you have each month and divide it into fourths so you know exactly how much you have to spend on everything each week.
- Renew your determination to become debt-free every day!
It won’t necessarily be easy, but determination can help you wipe out your credit card debt. If you’ve got credit card debt, I invite you to please try this challenge.
Let us know in the comments section below if you’d like to join the quest to get rid of credit card debt. And please let us know if you’ve got a helpful tip to you’d like to share.
For more information about responsible credit card usage, check out this blog article!