If you’re struggling with high credit card debt, don’t worry — it’s not just you. Millions of Americans have fallen into the trap of accruing extreme, high-interest credit card debt without having the financial means to pay it off.
As credit card debt can be very financially crippling, you should be sure you are doing all that you can to decrease your debt as quickly as possible. Try out a few of these methods to help start chipping away at your credit card debt in 2019.
Prioritize High-Interest Debt
You should be sure to prioritize paying off your high-interest debts first. Credit cards with high APRs are going to do the most damage in the long-term, even if they don’t currently carry your highest balance.
Try chipping away at high-interest debt first in order to decrease your long-term payments.
Pay Off Low Balances First
Alternatively, one effective method of paying off debt is the ‘snowball method.’ Promoted by Dave Ramsey, the snowball method dictates that you should pay off your lowest balance first. Then, move onto your second lowest, then third lowest, etc.
The idea behind this method is simple: getting rid of debt feels good. Paying off lower balances first grants you more instant gratification which then motivates you to continue paying off your credit card debt.
Live Below Your Means
This definitely isn’t the most attractive strategy to most people; however, creating a minimal budget and living below your means is one of the easiest ways to pay off your debts more quickly.
This could mean getting rid of cable and Netflix. It could also mean you stop going out to eat altogether. Essentially, you want to get rid of every expense that isn’t absolutely necessary.
If you find yourself struggling to commit to such a minimal budget, remember that it is only temporary and you will be much more financially secure when you’re done.
Pay More than the Minimum
If you can afford to pay more than the minimum payment, then you should. If you’re only making the minimum payments, then you’re just creating more debt than necessary.
This doesn’t just apply to credit cards either. Student loans, auto loans, personal loans, and any other type of loan should be paid off as quickly as possible. Don’t let lenders take more money than necessary.
Get a Balance Transfer Card
First, you should try to negotiate lower interest rates with your current credit card company. However, if that doesn’t work, consider applying for a balance transfer credit card.
Balance transfer cards allow you to transfer an existing balance from one card to a new one with a lower interest rate — allowing you to get rid of your debt much faster. While most credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, typically around 3%, it is often well worth it. If your current credit cards have outrageous APRs, a balance transfer card could be your savior.
You’re not alone in the struggle to pay off your credit card debt. It takes time and effort to do, but these strategies can help you begin to chip away at your credit card debt in 2019.