By Louis H-P on November 25, 2022Reading Time: 4 minutes
Paying off credit card debt is an ambition for many. It is often seen as an impossible task due to us building a ‘mental block’ that it is impossible. Yet if you are prepared to try, you will be surprised what is possible. To help you on your way, we have come up with some suggestions. All of these paying off credit card debt suggestions will help you, but how prepared are you to try them?
Be prepared to face up to the problems
Start small and see your debts fall
Follow these steps to pay off your credit card
Because the first part of it is addressing your psychology. Too many people will take a few steps to reduce their over-spending, but they will not stop their bad habits. As a result they re-start their bad habits as soon as they feel better about themselves.
If you are prepared to look at yourself in the mirror and change, you will have to face difficulty only one more time by repaying your current credit card debt. Once complete you will not have to again. It is actually harder to repetitively pay down your debt after a spending binge.
Why not upgrade your life by focusing on enjoying it (responsibly) rather frequently having to deal with the (financial) excess of it?
…by paying off a large amount early. A credit card is painful because it penalises you with a high interest on the outstanding amount you owe. If you pay in a large amount at the start, the interest compounding against you will decrease markedly. This will help with paying off credit card debt faster. It can also be a mental note to yourself as a start of the process.
Balance transfers are a form of ‘joker’ for you. They are an offer from another credit card provider to transfer your credit card debt to them. This will typically be for a fee (3% of the balance). As part of the offer, they will give you a specified period of time (somewhere in the region of 6-18 months) to pay off the balance. This is incredibly attractive, as at a stroke you stop the credit card debt from compounding against you.
Therefore any money you pay in will automatically reduce your credit card debt. This step taken alongside paying off a large amount early will set you on your way to vastly reducing your debt. Ideally you would pay in the large amount first, as this would reduce the amount which can be charged the 3% balance transfer fee.
This is an obvious one and critical to your long-term financial future. It would be a shame to pay down your credit card debt only to build it back up again. You will need to change your approach to spending to achieve this. Are there areas you can permanently reduce your spending on? Look for areas where there is long-term gain to ensure you can sustain the approach.
Ideas can include buying less products with a high concentration of sugar. If you look at your food shopping receipt you will notice that the most expensive individual items have a great deal of sugar in them. Examples include biscuits, chocolate and cereals. You will get healthier the process, as sugar contributes markedly to weight gain.
Can you also walk part or all the way to work? Not only will you save on the transport cost but you will be healthier in the process. At an extreme, you could even replace your gym membership through walking more.
Spontaneously going on another adventure costs money. We appreciate it is fun, but it is hard to budget. We appreciate budgeting is not fun, but without a spending limit, nothing stops you from committing to another holiday, night out, overseas friends visit.
An activity should be something you do once of twice a week and demands a commitment. It can be art course, learning an instrument, joining a sports team or a life challenge (losing weight? Quitting smoking?)
All of these will require time, which when doing them will stop you from spending. Many, if not all, of these will make you feel better and this can only help towards facing up to your debt problem. Through not spending, you will increase the cash you have to repay your credit card.
It is not pleasant to see how much debt we have accumulated. Setting up a direct debit can be a solution on two fronts. You do not have to see your credit card balance to make the repayment and you are automatically paying off your credit card bill.
Clearly you have to ensure you have the cash to fund the direct debit. You can also calculate approximately how many months of direct it will take to pay the your credit card bill. This can be a target to motivate you.
Have you considered how to ensure you never create credit card debt again? For example, why not tie your ‘luxury’ spending to an amount each month. Being disciplined all the time is virtually impossible. Having an amount of money to play off will help you decompress.
Why not continue that new found activity which worked so well for you? This will instill a new found discipline into you which you also apply to your money management. Remember there is no reason a skill learnt in one part of your life cannot be transferred to another! It is often the most simple steps which get you the furthest.