How to get rid of credit card debt in 2018
Paying off your credit card debt can be easy. All it takes is a little bit of work, some knowledge, and commitment. There are many techniques that can help you reduce balances, and quickly free up cash flow. Here are the 3 most important ones:
- At least pay the minimum on credit cards
Paying minimum monthly fees may not enable you to eliminate your liability quickly, but at least it helps you to develop a reputation as a reliable and consistent consumer. Regular repayments are important to avoid penalties and higher interest rates, but you must also be aware of your rights as a consumer and understand the exact details of each individual debt. This allows you to avoid paying inflated sums on a regular basis.
- If you are carrying a balance on more than one debt, make sure you always pay at least the minimum on each one.
- Then focus on paying down the total balance on one card at a time.
- Pay off the debt with the smallest balance first, then take the money you were paying for that debt and use it to pay down the next smallest balance.
You have the option, if you can, to pay more than the minimum, even a bit extra each month. This way you’ll pay less in interest and eliminate your total debts sooner. Every dollar over the minimum payment goes toward your balance—and the smaller your balance, the less you have to pay in interest and the faster you will be debt free!
- Start categorizing your spending
- Start categorizing your monthly spending, for example: groceries, transportation, housing, and entertainment. Your credit card statement can be helpful; many issuers categorize your spending. It’s important to understand where your money is going.
- Next, look for areas where you can cut back, keeping only the necessary expenses.
The money you free up can be used to pay more of your debts, remember the first tip, using the two tips together can shorten the time you’ll need to be debt free.
- Check your free credit report
Be wary of free credit reports and hidden financial products. Only access your free copy of your credit report from reliable and trustworthy sources. While obtaining a copy of your credit report is an important step towards understanding your full financial liability and organizing a manageable payment plan, you should be wary of additional financial products that may be charged as a result of using an unknown service.
TIP: Many consumers have complained after accessing “free” copies of their credit reports, only to be subsequently billed for monitoring services, including fraud alerts and the restriction of access to their reports. These services may be offered by a partnering firm, so it is important to note if you are transferred to an alternative website or asked to participate in any free trials or services. If you do unwittingly subscribe to an unwanted service, you must opt out as soon as possible to avoid recurring charges.
If you follow these three simple tips, your debt burden will become lighter every day, freeing you to pursue your dreams. Remember: debt doesn’t have to be forever.