How to Pay Your Credit Card Balance Down Faster - Brink's Money
How to Pay Your Credit Card Balance Down Faster
20 Dec 2021
If you have a credit card balance or debt, it can feel daunting to think about making that monthly payment. Research shows that almost half of Americans who have a credit card do not pay off their full balance each month, which can prove to be expensive over time. Every credit cardholder’s situation is different and so are the ways to pay down your balance. Here are a few of our suggestions:
Set a Budget for Yourself
Before you move onto any other step towards paying your credit card balance, you should start by reviewing your spending and examining where your money is going. One of the most proactive actions you can take to manage your debt is creating a budget for yourself that starts with listing out your typical monthly expenses. When you create a budget, you can more accurately account for everything you use your income for and you can identify ways to devote more income towards your credit card balance. Your budget is meant to work for you so whether you choose to use an app or opt for a pen and paper, it’s important that you are completely transparent with your budget to make it as realistic as possible.
Make Extra Income
A second tip you can consider is earning extra income. With this suggestion, you don’t have to worry about redirecting your income or cutting down on expenses. By having more disposable income, you are able to put more into your budget. A second source of income can be temporary and it has become easier to find side hustles that fit with your schedule and lifestyle. Whether you deliver groceries or put your skills to the test as a tutor, a side hustle can help your financial situation tremendously and you can use that to your advantage to crack down on your credit card balance.
Double Your Minimum Payment
A significant portion of Americans make only the minimum required payment each month for their credit card. Although contributing the minimum amount is better than not contributing at all, minimum payments are oftentimes enough to cover the interest you have accrued but they won’t help you make significant progress to tackling your debt. If your budget allows it, we recommend at least doubling your minimum payment to help accelerate the time in which you pay down your balance and save you money on interest.
Use the Debt Avalanche Method
This next tip focuses on a debt reduction method that prioritizes paying off your credit cards with the highest interest rates first. As you pay off your account with the highest interest rate, then you repeat the process again until all of your credit cards have been paid off. People are drawn to this method because it is the most effective for saving on interest charges. If you’re interested in saving money on interest, then you should consider the debt avalanche method.
Use the Debt Snowball Method
Just like the debt avalanche method, there are several strategies you can take on to help you pay down your credit card balance. A different strategy you may consider is the debt snowball method that focuses on paying down your credit card with the lowest balance first and essentially working your way up. While you manage to make payments to your lowest balance, you would continue to make smaller payments to your other credit cards to avoid hurting your credit score. Once that initial balance is close to zero, take a look at your other accounts and determine which has the next-lowest balance. The debt snowball method is a favorite because your progress is made clear almost immediately.
Use a Balance Transfer Credit Card
A final option you may not have heard of is that of using a balance transfer credit card. Depending on how high your credit score is, you can apply for a card specifically used towards helping you pay a balance down. A balance transfer credit card gives you an introductory 0% APR rate for a period of time that you can make the most of to pay your balance down rather fast. Without an interest rate, you can feel good knowing that your payments are going directly towards your principal. During your introductory stage, it’s important that you do what you can to pay your balance off. This option is riskiest, as you’ll resume building interest if you don’t pay the balance off in time, but it can pay off in the long run.
Even if it may not seem like it, you are not alone when it comes to paying off credit card debt. A steep credit card balance can leave you trying to stretch out your budget as much as possible or have you scratching your head looking for ways to make that monthly payment. Not taking an aggressive approach to your debt can prevent you from reaching other important financial goals. Paying your credit card balance is possible, but it takes strategic planning and patience with yourself. Keep a few of these suggestions in mind and you can be on your way to getting that debt paid off.
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