Spring Clean Your Credit Card Debt
Why not use spring as a springboard to clean up your credit card debt. With food and gas prices rising it’s time to wipe out any unnecessary spending and pay down your credit cards so you’ll have money for more important things.
Credit card debt acts like an anchor for many people who are trying to gain financial freedom. It simply drags them down because of late fees, additional charges and high interest rates. Release yourself from this burden by using these tips to pay down your credit cards.
Stop charging: It may be easier said than done but you have to stop charging items on your credit card unless you can pay off the monthly balance in full. Keep your cards at home; use cash to prevent overspending on pointless items and don’t buy on impulse.
Consolidate your cards: If you have multiple cards try to move the balances to one card that has a low interest rate. This will prevent you from charging on the other cards and help clean up your paperwork, along with making monthly bill paying much less confusing.
Get rid of store cards: You don’t need retail store cards or gas cards (unless they give great rewards). One or two major brand cards provide you with enough flexibility so you can charge only necessary items. Remember, these are not play things; credit card debt is serious business and could lead to a financial meltdown.
Delete the excess: Maybe you go out to lunch too often or smoke too many cigarettes or enjoy shopping because it makes you relax. Well that’s going to have to change. Save going out to lunch for special occasions, cut back on smoking or drinking and find other ways to relax – take a walk in the park, it’s free and it’s good exercise.
Apply money saved to your credit card: Once you start saving extra money apply it toward your credit card bills. Some experts recommend paying off the card with the lowest interest rate first because you’ll feel a sense of pride and thus more determined to pay off the next card. Also, if you are getting money back from taxes apply it to your credit card debt.
Call the credit card company: Some credit card companies are willing to negotiate your interest rate, especially if your record for paying on time is exemplary. But even if you’ve paid late or missed some payment it’s still a good idea to contact them to see if they’ll lower your monthly interest rate. While you’re at it ask them if they’ll eliminate annual fees.
Pay off more than the “minimum” balance: Many people think that by paying off the minimum they are saving money for other things. But that’s not true because the interest rates on credit cards make it nearly impossible to pay off the debt in a timely manner; consequently you end up paying much more over a longer period of time. You’re simply ripping yourself off.
Credit card debt is scary; it can snowball on you and then you become overwhelmed. If that’s the case take a deep breath and make a commitment to yourself that you’ll get the debt under control. The time to start is now.