How to Pay Off Credit Cards Fast
Paying off credit card debt is a daunting task, but can be done with the right amount of determination. Here are five simple steps to help pay off credit card debt on your own:
1. Get Organized
Collect all of your credit card statements and write down the balance, interest rate, monthly payment, and monthly finance charge (preferable in a spreadsheet) for each account. Add up the total damage. It’s probably more credit card debt than you thought you had. Post this number on your fridge or somewhere that you’ll see it every day. It may not put a smile on your face, but it should motivate you and keep you focused on the goal of becoming debt-free.
2. Create a Budget
One of the main reasons people have credit card debt is because they spend money that they don’t have. And this typically is a result of not having a monthly spending plan. Write down what you think that you spend on each category each month. Be sure to include those everyday small items, such as food, entertainment, gifts, etc. After everything is accounted for, decide how much extra that you can comfortably pay back toward your credit card debt.
3. Stop Charging on the Cards
Now that you created a monthly spending plan, there’s no need for using your credit cards any more. Use cash or your debit card for all purchases. Remove your credit cards from your wallet and leave them at home. If you are not willing to stop charging, then you are not ready to start getting out of debt.
4. Reduce the Interest Rates
If you have good credit, then your interest rates should be around 12% or lower. Anything higher will make it difficult to pay off quickly. Call your creditors and negotiate lower interest rates. The higher your credit score, the better success rate you should have. However, most department store cards won’t budge with their high interest rates.
5. Pay the Smallest Balance First
Return to your spreadsheet and determine which account has the smallest balance. This is the account that you should pay off first. Make this your number one priority. Pay the minimum payments on all of your accounts except this account. Try to pay at least two to three times the minimum payment on this account. Once it’s paid off, roll that payment over to the next smallest balance and start attacking it. Continue this process until all accounts are paid in full.