We have a question.
Are you still paying for Christmas?
If you’re like millions of Americans, the answer is yes – you are still paying for the joy and excitement of this last Christmas morning and maybe even a few before it. Allowing credit card debt to add up is a common mistake and, sadly, reducing debt is always a lot harder than allowing it to accumulate.
If you want to pay off your credit card but aren’t sure where to start, we have some basic steps to get you on the right track.
- Face reality – How much do you really owe? Do you have one credit card? More than one? Add up those balances and keep that total in mind.
- Make a budget – No one enjoys the ‘B’ word but a budget or a spending plan is the most effective way to get your financial house in order. Not sure how to budget? We wrote this guide a few years ago.
- Study up to lower expenses – Study your budget and consider how you spend your money. Are you living within your means? Are you spending too much on impulse shopping or on weekend entertainment? Are there big ticket items like car insurance that you could save on with a little comparison shopping? Save money where you can and apply the savings to your debt. Click here to read about saving money even when you think there’s nowhere to cut.
- Be timely – Each time your credit card payment is late, you face a late charge. Pay at least the minimum payment on time to avoid those charges.
- Pay extra – With online payments, it’s easy to make an extra credit card payment. So if you have a windfall –some unexpected overtime, a tax refund or some garage sale earnings – make an extra payment.
- Stop adding more debt – This should go without saying but you’ll never pay off that card if you keep adding to the balance. If you must use it, be sure not to charge more than you can pay off that month.
- Stay motivated – Staying focused on a budget and debt payoff is hard work. Look for inspiration anywhere you can find it. Hang a debt payoff thermometer on the fridge, read success stories on Pinterest or talk to like-minded friends who are also focused on financial goals. Another great motivation tool? Dream about how good it will feel to not have credit card debt hanging over your head.