Credit card debt, whether it's a little or a lot, isn't something you need to carry around forever; there are ways to get rid of your debt. We have compiled five tips on how to reduce and overcome your credit card debt.
1. Focus on One Card at a Time
If you have balances on multiple credit cards, it can seem daunting to pay them all off at once. Instead of tackling them all at the same time, you should make minimum payments on each credit card, but choose one at a time to attack more aggressively. Focus on the card with the highest interest rate or the largest balance, whichever costs you more each month.
Commit to paying a certain amount on your card each month, and stick to it. You should estimate how many payments it will take for you to pay off the card, and then reward yourself each month as you get closer to the finish line. Make the goal to eliminate your credit card debt completely. Once you've paid off one card, move on to the next.
2. Consolidate Your Balances
Having more than one credit card often means carrying multiple balances on several cards. This can be tough to keep track of as you reduce your credit card debt, so consider consolidating your balances on one or two cards. Many banks will allow you to transfer balances at any time, but it's best to do this when you receive a special offer that promises zero-percent interest and a very low transfer rate.
Once you've consolidated balances, you shouldn't just push your debt to the back of your mind. Continue making at least the minimum monthly payment on your card, and pay more if possible. If you transferred your balance under the terms of a special offer, make sure to keep track of the date your zero-percent interest expires. You'll need to pay off your balance by that date, or you'll likely owe the accumulated interest.
3. Make Multiple Payments Each Month
Though credit cards require a minimum payment each month, there's usually no rule that you have to stick to one payment. If it's more convenient for you to make a payment when you receive your paycheck every week or two, consider making multiple payments toward your debt. Be sure that the sum of your payments at least equals the minimum required by your credit card issuer.
4. Analyze Your Spending
Getting control over your credit card debt doesn't stop with making payments and consolidating outstanding balances. An important part of debt relief is getting a handle on your current monthly spending. Start by analyzing your credit card statements, bank statements and any other spending outlets to find out where your money goes each month. Compare this with your paychecks, and determine the balance between spending and income. Look for trends, identify areas where you can rein in your spending, and see if better management leads to extra funds you can apply toward credit card debt.
5. Create a Budget
If you don't have a budget in place, now is the time to start. Make a list of monthly expenditures, from necessities like food and transportation to fun things like going to the movies and on vacations. Don't forget to factor in your regular credit card payments and your monthly income. Remember to keep track of your expenses throughout the month, and make sure they align with what you expected. If you plan carefully, you might even have a little extra to set aside for a rainy day.
Now that you know how to reduce your credit card debt, there's no better time to start. Whether you have one credit card or 10, it's possible to get your finances under control and overcome your debt.