Credit card debt is the stuff of urban horror stories: you weren't careful and now you're avoiding phone calls and shredding the payment reminders. The exorbitant interest rate levied on your debt is higher than any other credit facility in the market (save for ah longs!).
For those of you with lingering credit card debt, here are a few tips to help you work your way towards a credit card debt-free existence.
Shake-up Your Budget with Your Own Repayment Plan
Make paying off your credit card balance a priority in your budget, rather than just paying the minimum required amount every month.
Create a credit card repayment plan with the goal of being credit card debt-free within a set number of months. Calculate the amount you need to pay every month in order to achieve that goal. Table that amount in your budget and pay it as you would pay a utility bill.
It is much easier to stay on track if you have a plan, and staying on track is key to achieving debt-free status.
Plough Your Savings into Your Credit Card Debt
It may sound counter-intuitive to burn your hard-earned savings on your credit card debt, but considering the fact that the interest charged on your credit card debt eclipses whatever interest your savings account offers, it is only logical to use your slow-growing savings to stem your fast-bleeding credit card debt.
The idea of using your savings to plug your credit card debt may come across as untenable to some. Remind yourself that you risk a grimmer financial fate than having your savings obliterated if you do not deal with your credit card debt.
Of course, leave some cash in your bank account for emergencies as well.
Pay the Most Expensive First
If you are shackled by multiple credit card debts, pay off the balances in order of the card with the highest interest rate first. This makes sense to avoid paying that higher rate for longer than absolutely necessary.
Build your credit card repayment plan around getting rid of your high-interest credit card balance first, while paying only the minimum amount for the other cards. Here's the only time where it is acceptable to pay the minimum amount.
Should all your cards have the same interest rate, pay the one with the lowest remaining balance. This is more psychological than practical. The feeling of paying off the balance will get you motivated to pay off the rest as you will actually see your efforts working before too long.
Balance Transfer to Restructure Your Credit Card Debt
Finally, have you considered using balance transfer to restructure your credit card debt into something more manageable?
Balance transfers allow you to consolidate your credit card debt into a single card to take advantage of that card's low interest rate, which could be as low as 0% for a set number of months. Find out if balance transfers are for you by considering these factors.
If you are interested in applying for a balance transfer, you may find a card that suits you with our card comparator.
Remember, you won't get there in a day, so do not give up even if you slip up. As long as you get back on the repayment saddle, you would eventually emerge out of the hole of credit card debt.
After going down the list it may seem as if the credit card is the devil incarnate, which is not true. Credit cards are good friends to have, if you are disciplined enough to pay off your balance on time, preferably in full before you incur any interest on the balance.
A credit card could be a lifesaver in an emergency and you could add value to your purchases by accruing credit card points, cashback or get various perks like 2-for-1 movie tickets and dining discounts. You just have to use it right.