Credit card debt. A blight on many of our lives. We spend all our spare funds on trying to pay them off, and half our time worrying about them. Those that say money doesn’t bring happiness have not had to deal with spiralling debt. So what can you do about it? We look at ways to pay off credit card debt.
Let’s deal with the basics first. If you have debt on credit cards, and you struggle to pay back that debt, then you must never purchase a single thing on them. Ever. All you are doing is making matters worse by doing so. The only transactions should be payments by you to reduce the debt. Cutting them up is a good start, so that you cannot physically use them. But whenever possible, spend money from your bank account and nowhere else.
I will write in greater detail in my next blog on whether debt consolidation is a good idea. Like most ideas, sometimes it is great, and sometimes it is not. It depends on how you use it and your personal circumstances. In brief, if it lowers your monthly repayments and/or your total repayable debt over time, then it is something for you to consider. What you should not do is take on a single consolidated debt simply for the convenience. It is not worth increasing debt to reduce paperwork.
Easier said than done, right? But if you want to pay off your debts, then you will never get there by paying off minimum payments every month. This will leave outstanding balances static or perhaps larger as interest payments outstrip minimum payments. You need to strive to increase your debt repayments. You may have to make sacrifices to do so.
One way to reduce debt is to eradicate interest payments. So check if you are eligible for balance transfer offers. These usually come with a fixed fee, so ensure it is lower than your interest payments and is thus worth it. And then try to pay off that balance before the offer period expires. Or move on the money again. Failure to do so will see the lender hit you with sky-high interest rates thereafter.
Think hard about whether you can alleviate your debt with funds from elsewhere. We are not suggesting you raid your pension fund, but there is little point having money sat in a savings fund whilst you pay interest on debt. Debt should be your priority at all times.
Well, if only we had all thought of that! But there are many ways to get more money into your bank account. Some are harder than others. Some require greater sacrifices. So let’s look at the options. Consider extra part-time work if you have the time. This may only be a short-term decision to get on top of debt. Do overtime if your employer allows it. Look for a new job. Sell items you don’t need at home to raise extra funds. Consider a side hustle in your spare time.
Cut down on treats, change your cable subscription, or move it. Change bank accounts, cut down on other subscriptions you may not need, such as for the gym you never go to. And pour every penny you save into paying off debt. Check if you can get a better deal on your mobile phone, and make you own lunch for work. Be more efficient with your food shopping, and perhaps eat in more for a while to make further savings.