Whether you have struggled with credit card debt for years, or if the previous year hit hard and had to rack up some debt, now is the time to rid yourself of debt. Credit cards can be an extremely useful money saving tool actually if used right, you can make all of your purchases on a rewards card and start to earn cashback on every purchase. The trick is, you need to pay the balance off each month otherwise you start to waste money on interest. If you are in need of assistance, try using one of the many ways to get back on track and clear out that debt.
Take Advantage of a Balance Transfer Promo
Depending on your credit score, the higher the score you have, the more likely you are to receive promotions in the mail practically begging you to sign up for their card. By signing up some will give zero percent interest rate for a period, which could be perfect if you are able to transfer and pay off your debt within that timeframe, otherwise interest will pile up, although at least you made a good dent in the meantime. Keep an eye out for balance transfer fees, if you are not careful they may not have a cap and could cost you 3% of the total transfer.
Stop Adding to the Debt
If you are currently carrying a credit card balance and are not able to pay it off by the time the next due date comes around, there is no point to continue to charge up and keep adding to the totals. Now would be the time to put away the plastic and really work on money saving tactics so you can put large payments towards the debt balance. When it comes to spending, try giving yourself a set amount of actual cash to stick to.
Take Out a Personal Loan
With interest rates on credit cards being upwards of 16% if you have poor credit, or just a card with unfavorable interest rate, now is the time to ditch that card and take out a personal loan. With interest rates half of those of credit cards, not to mention having set terms of when the total balance will be repaid, a personal loan has its advantages over a credit card that you are carrying a balance and just making payments towards every month.
Avoid Making Minimum Payments
Speaking of payments made each month, if you do have a balance that is carrying over each month, avoid making only the minimum payment at all costs. Let’s say you have a balance of $5,000, the minimum payment may only be say $50, but if you make only that payment and see the next statement that comes in the mail the next month, you will notice little went towards the principal balance and just paid the interest accrued. Sure, it may look nice to only pay that little amount, but you are hurting yourself in the long run.
Pay Off Highest Interest First
Interest is where credit cards companies make their bank, so it is no wonder why they try and give you the largest interest rate around, which is why it is important to shop around for a card with the best interest rates. When trying to figure out which account to pay down first, the balance with the highest rate makes sense so that you can get rid of that account and put your hard-earned money to something other than interest.
Or Smallest Balance
Sometimes when you are working on fixing your debt situation it may not seem like much progress is made, as it takes time in patience, but sometimes you can give yourself a pat on the back if you see improvement made with a zero balance on payments made to a smaller account. It may not get you out of debt, but at least you can see progress.
Do Not Rob Yourself
Experts say that you should have three to six months’ worth of expenses in an account somewhere in case of an unforeseen job loss, an expensive auto repair, or appliance replacement you will have a cushion of funds to cover so that you will not have to put it on a credit card. If you are already in credit trouble, throw in an unexpected life change and soon you are deeper into debt and may not see a way out. It may seem logical to pay the balance if you have the money sitting there, but an emergency fund is important to have.