The American people are falling deeper into debt. The United States total credit card debt now exceeds $1 trillion.
While credit card debt ranks below mortgages, auto, and student loans, lenders view credit card debt as the worst of the group.
You cannot build equity with a credit card like a home or vehicle. Student loans can lead to higher income down the road so there is a return on investment eventually. Instead, credit cards carry revolving debt and high interest rates.
Now is the time to quickly eliminate your credit card bills before they spiral out of control. Read on to learn how to pay off your credit card debt. Explore 5 hacks that will help restore financial discipline and get you on the right track.
1. Consolidate Your Debt
One of the most popular ways to get credit card debt under control is by applying for a consolidation package. The average American has four credit cards.
This means that they have to pay four credit card bills per month. Four different cards are accruing interest and assessing fees.
Instead of juggling multiple due dates, you can consolidate your debt into one account. Perhaps the most impactful benefit of a loan consolidation package is reducing monthly interest charges.
When you are approved for a consolidation package, your lender pays off your existing credit cards. The lender then opens up a new account rolling up the balances from your prior credit cards.
This provides you with an opportunity to eliminate credit cards with a high annual percentage rate (APR). You should target a consolidation solution with a low APR to save the most money.
Some consolidation plans allow you to roll in other types of debt as well. You may be able to consolidate student loans and medical bills to save even more on APR.
2. Pay More than the Minimum
The slowest path to paying off your credit card debt is paying the minimum. This path also leads to the highest amount of interest charges.
Instead, you should make it a point to pay more than the minimum. There are quite a few benefits to doing so.
First, you can reduce your interest charges. By paying less in interest, you can redirect any saved money towards the principal.
Paying more than the minimum is also beneficial for your credit score. The major credit reporting agencies give positive points for borrowers who pay more than the minimum.
There is one exception to our advice to pay more than the minimum. For those with multiple credit cards, experts recommend a strategy called the debt snowball method.
Here, you rank your credit cards from the highest to lowest APR. Each month, you pay as much as you can on the card with the highest APR. For the other cards, you can pay the monthly minimum.
As you move forward, the balance on the high APR credit card will decline and eventually be paid off. Now you can redirect your financial resources to the card with the next highest APR. This method is continued until all the credit cards are paid off.
3. Hustle for Extra Cash
Modern technology and the gig economy provides Americans with many opportunities. It is easier than ever before to earn extra cash on the side.
For example, many Americans are driving for Lyft or Uber as a side hustle. Others are taking on freelance work from home.
In fact, nearly half of Americans under 35 years old have a side job. There is a sizable monetary reward for the hustle.
The average worker with a side job brings in an extra $1,100 per month. It can take as little as an additional 12 hours of work per week to bring in this extra revenue.
You may have the urge to splurge with this extra cash. However, the financially responsible thing to do is direct this money towards your credit card debt. It will help you pay down balances faster and reduce annual interest expenses.
4. Budgeting and Tracking Expenses
On top of the income from your side job, there is still more juice to squeeze. You can also establish a budget and track your expenses.
Laying out your monthly expenses is an enlightening experience. Many are stunned to see how much they spend each month on hobbies or non-essential items.
One famous study concluded that one in three Americans spend more on coffee than monthly investments. The cost of your daily Starbucks latte adds up over the course of a month.
Consider a person who spends $5 per day on their morning coffee. This adds up to roughly $140 per month. You can redirect this money towards your credit card debt instead.
You are likely to find other items in your monthly budget to cut. Perhaps you spend too much money on clothes or electronics.
Tracking your daily spending requires commitment and discipline. If able, you can identify excess spending which can be used to pay down your credit card debt faster.
5. Hold a Garage Sale
Many Americans do not want to admit that they are hoarders. Their garages, closets, and attics are filled with unused items. The famous saying goes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
To offload your excess items, hold a garage sale. You could potentially earn hundreds to thousands of dollars. This money can be directed towards your credit card debt.
If you are stashing collectible items, now might be the right time to sell. Selling collectibles could be an opportunity to pull in even more money for your debt-conquering quest.
How to Quickly Pay Off Your Credit Card Bills
Credit card debt is a menace and a personal finance nightmare. Interest accrues quickly and can erode your credit score and financial comfort.
The good news is that you can eliminate credit card debt with these 5 savvy hacks. Strategies like consolidating debt to lower interest charges are proven to be effective.
If you are interested in using consolidation to pay down credit card bills, contact us today to make it happen.