Falling into the deep, inky, black hole that is credit card debt is a problem for a lot of people. It adds to the stigma that credit cards are an instant gateway to debt. What some may fail to realize is that there can be valid reasons for it, and while having an amount of debt that high isn’t ideal, you can get out of it.
Wiping your financial slate clean of debt has been compared to a crash diet at some point or another. But where crash diets can mean worse things for your body, dealing with your debt in quick succession helps you get your financial house back on track.
If you’re wondering what you need to do, here’s where you get started.
Talk to your bank
Banks are usually painted as cold, unfeeling collectors when it comes down to the debts people accumulate. You’d be surprised what a phone call to them regarding the payment of your debts can yield. If you’re in deep, you’ll want to talk to them about restructuring your debt. They’ll ask for proof showing that you can pay under the restructured terms, which means that your debt will be consolidated and you’ll be given a calculated amount that needs to be paid within a fixed amount of time.
Transfer it out
If the interest on your credit cards is an issue, but you’ve got good standing – as in you pay in full and on time as much as possible – you can ask your bank for a balance transfer, meaning that you can have your total balance transferred to one card, preferably with a lower interest rate than on the rest of your cards.
Consolidating it this way helps you get rid of extra cards and you can pay your debt off easier when the threat of high interest isn’t in your face.
Snowball your payments
Go big, and get out quicker. If you’ve got multiple cards, take the ones with the highest amounts on them and put the largest amount of cash into paying those off first, then move on to the next set, until you’ve zeroed out the balance on your last card.
Snowballing your payments means that your “primary” card gets paid off in full every month while paying the minimum on the rest. You can choose to prioritize either the card with the highest balance or the one with the highest amount of interest.
Pick your due dates wisely
Your billing due dates can be a lifesaver. You can call your bank and request this change to make it easier for you to pay off the bills. You’ll want to time it within two or three days of your actual payday so that you’re sure you’ve got the cash pulled together for your bills.
You can work in the snowball strategy easier this way, as well. Note that for people who’ve got a single payday every month, it’ll be easier to pay your bills in bulk.
Pay at every cutoff
You might look at the minimum balance on your credit card statement and think you’ll be okay to skate by on paying just that, and that’s an accurate assessment. It’s only accurate if you pay off the minimum or as much above it as you can at every cutoff.
For a lot of people, that means making two payments every month – once at every payday. Doing this allows you to pay down your debt that much faster, and organizes the rate at which you pay down your debts.
As challenging as it can be, you have to admit that there’s a certain relief that comes with seeing your credit card statements come back lower every time. Having a credit card isn’t such a bad thing, provided that you develop the discipline to overcome impulse spending temptations.
Guest Contributor Bio:
Kyle Kam is a Digital Marketing Specialist of MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.