Debt of any kind is a heavy burden to carry. However, if you’ve found yourself in over your head with credit card debt, you’re in good company. According to the Federal Reserve, American consumer debt – the bulk of which is credit card debt – exceeded one trillion dollars in April of 2019. What’s more, is the average credit card-carrying household owes $8,398 in credit card debt.
Between harassing calls from creditors and perpetual minimum monthly payments, credit card debt can often feel inescapable. But it is possible to pay off your debt and find relief. With the right strategy and a little patience, you can take back control of your finances and enjoy a debt-free existence.
Make a plan and stick to it
It’s hard to know where to start paying off debt if you don’t have a clear picture of what you’re dealing with. You’ll want to stop using your credit cards and determine how much you owe to create a budget. To plan a budget, you should:
- Make a list of all your regular bills and expenses.
- Make a list of all your credit cards along with their balance, interest rates, minimum payments and credit limits.
- Subtract your bills, necessities and minimum credit payments from your monthly income.
Avoiding the use of your credit cards and sticking to a monthly budget is one of the best ways to get back on track and start chipping away at your debt. You can even enlist the help of apps to manage and pay off your debts.
Choose a repayment method
People who try to pay off their debts at random don’t have much success. Sticking to an exact repayment method, however, can be your best bet for becoming debt-free. Two common debt payment strategies include:
- Debt snowball method: In this approach, the credit card with the smallest balance is aggressively paid off first – regardless of interest rates. Once the first card is paid off, the minimum monthly payment of that card is added to the card with the next smallest balance and so on until all debts are paid off.
- Debt avalanche method: Similar to the debt snowball method, this approach focuses on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rates first, then moving to the next highest.
Consider debt relief programs
Unfortunately, life circumstances don’t always allow the option to repay your debts on your own. If you are facing overwhelming and unmanageable debt, you may consider filing for bankruptcy to wipe the slate clean.
Credit card debt may feel insurmountable, but it is possible to live debt-free once again. Creating a plan you can stick to and knowing your repayment options are the first steps towards a sound financial future.