The current estimate of American credit card debt is a whopping $986 billion.
But before you’re filled with existential macroeconomic dread, we recommend starting with just the number in your bank account.
If that credit card balance is trending up, and you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against minimum payments, here’s 4 tips to effectively managed your credit card debt.
Make extra payments
Banks are in the business of lending money. So if you stick to their payment schedule, chances are you’re getting the short end of the stick. With extra payments, however, you can mitigate interest accrual and accelerate your debt relief.
One thing to remember: the key word here is extra. We’re not recommending you break up a monthly bill into smaller weekly payments. Rather, small contributions in addition to your regular monthly payment can fast track your payment timeline.
Consolidate your debt
If you’re currently paying off multiple credit cards, debt consolidation is a great way to organize the problem and lower your interest rate.
The idea here is the same as any type of refinancing- taking on a new loan to cover your current debt and repaying that loan at a lower interest rate going forward.
Check out Nerd Wallet’s tool on debt consolidation to see if you qualify.
Renegotiate your bills
One of the best kept secrets of utility providers is that your monthly bill isn’t set in stone. You can renegotiate the terms and use any savings as an “extra payment” from tip #1.
Here’s a list of a few companies that will negotiate on your behalf:
Celebrate your progress
This one might sound a little corny, but we believe it’s just as important as the first 3.
Put your debt dollar amount on a white board and cross it off every time you make a payment. Or make an excel sheet with a simple line graph showing your debt over time. It may not seem important now, but seeing that line come down, or that number getting consistently crossed out, feels good.
Celebrate the small wins and you’ll find yourself squarely on the path to $0 cc debt.
And share your success stories with us! We love celebrating with our subscribers!