With more and more people falling these days into the never-ending abyss of credit card debt, it’s helpful to know that you are not in this fight alone. Despite what the banks may imply, credit card debt can be beaten.
The road may be painful and sacrifices sizeable, but with determination, your credit card debt can gradually decrease and your spirits lifted. Here are five ways to get you started.
Get your accounts sorted
Credit card debt is a nuisance in itself and it’s even worse when your accounts are all in disorder. Providing that you already have a few existing bank accounts, compare your usage and balance on each of them. Would it be wiser if you did a long balance transfer of one balance to an account with a lower interest rate? How many bank accounts do you really need? Consider your current method of repayment – is it working or do you need to change?
Budget like crazy
No matter what you try to convince yourself, you don’t need to be a math genius in order to succeed at budgeting. Simply note in a table how much you earn, how much you save, and how much you spend. Then look at the minimum payment on each of your credit card statements. Can you budget so that every month, you are paying off slightly more than your monthly interest? Be realistic as you budget and remember that slow, incremental change will pay off in the end.
Be tough on yourself
In other words, stop spending unnecessarily. Take all of your credit card statements out, hold the sinking feeling, and consider your spending patterns. How much do you spend on wants rather than needs? Are all your needs actually needs? Get creative – write a list on a large piece of cardboard that you can refer back to. Stick signs around your house telling yourself to STAY STRONG. Give up on that coffee every morning. Stop splurging on candy at the convenience store. Whatever it takes. No shame.
Get some apps
“What do you mean, get some apps?” I hear you asking. If you’re prone to using your smartphone to go online for the occasional impulse buy, delete every possible app that helps facilitate that (well maybe not the Internet browser, but everything else). Then try downloading some apps that will help you save money and budget carefully, such as Simple Budget ($1.99), Credit Card Debt ($0.99), SplashMoney – Personal Finance Manager ($5.49), or your own bank’s app.
Give the credit a break
Yes it’s the currency of today and shopping without it doesn’t quite feel the same, but why not leave your credit card at home for a change? Ultimately, the best way to beat credit card debt is to stop accumulating even more debt. Obviously, this cold turkey method isn’t for everyone, but worth a try if you are in serious trouble. Put your card at the back of the last draw or somewhere else out of sight. Spending real cash is a good reminder that you are the one paying for your purchases. Spend wisely.
Author bio: Priscilla Chan is a freelance writer who is interested in personal finance and making wise choices. She learned how to control her debts after a spending spree during university that left her poor for the next 5 years.