MANAGING CREDIT CARD DEBT WITH THESE SIX STRATEGIES
Individuals in the United States currently have an average of $5,000 in credit card debt while the average household credit card debt is $15,191. While it is easy to accumulate credit card debt in a short amount of time, paying off this debt can take years. Getting rid of debt can be especially difficult when higher interest rates and a shortage of income are in the picture. To help out, here are six strategies you can use to manage credit card debt even in tough times.
Do not accumulate more debt: While this strategy will not eliminate your current deficit, it can at least prevent you from creating more interest accumulating debt. Using cash instead of credit will help you to spend wisely. Get rid of those credit cards by cutting them if the temptation to buy on credit is too much.
Ask your credit card issuers to lower your interest rates: If you have been on time with your past payments and you have a good credit score, your creditor might be willing to negotiate a lower interest rate. A lower rate will reduce mounting interest charges. In hard financial times, it is at least worth getting on the phone and discovering your options.
Transfer your balance: While you are on the phone with your creditor, ask them about transferring your balance. The credit card issuer may allow you to transfer your balance from an account with a high-interest rate to a lower interest card. If you transfer your existing balance to a new promotional account, make sure that you pay off the balance while in the initial low-interest rate window or you will find yourself facing the same financial problem.
Pay your highest-interest credit card first. With a limited income, debt on high-interest credit cards can take years to pay off. Additionally, you will pay more in interest if you only make the minimum payments. Simple math shows that high-interest credit cards generate more debt from accrual than low-interest credit cards. As you are prioritizing these high-interest credit cards, you can make the minimum payments on your lower interest cards. After you pay off your credit card with the highest interest rate, you can switch to paying off the credit card with the second highest interest rate.
Make multiple payments per month: Credit cards accumulate interest day by day, so paying your minimum amount every two weeks will bring down your average daily balance and enable you to spend less money on interest.
Create a budget: It can be difficult to keep track of spending. Take time to write out your monthly expenses like rent, utilities and other services. Cutting out unnecessary expenses like entertainment services and restaurants allow you to put more funds towards existing debt. When you prepare for your necessary expenses, you are less likely to reach for the credit card when you have bills to pay. Many free online resources can help you to create and execute a monthly spending budget.