Christmas has come and gone now, with all the massive expenses that go with it – Christmas holidays, presents, festive feasts with the family and so much more.
The kids are back to school with all those additional expenses of new uniforms, school fees, books, stationary and new bags.
I just wonder how many people have maxed out their credit cards and now are sitting with credit card debt that needs to be paid off? The worst part is that it takes just one little festive season to max out your credit cards but it will take months or years to pay off your credit cards with huge interest fees.
Before looking at the 3 best strategies for paying off your credit card debt, consider this. You will be paying a massive amount in interest, so part of your strategy (whichever one you choose) should be to get a lower interest rate if possible.
Call your credit card companies and just ask them for a lower interest rate. Yes they may give you a straight out no, but there is a chance they might be willing to decrease your interest rate and this could save you a huge amount of money in the long term. It is certainly worth a shot anyway!
The next thing you need to remember is to make paying off your credit cards and other debts a priority. So make sure that the first thing you pay every month are your credit cards. It is so easy to start spending money on luxuries and other things when you get paid and then suddenly realise that you have overspent and there is not much left to cover all your expenses.
Pay your debt first and try to always pay a little extra each month.
Another thing to look at is the finance charge. Very often you will find that the minimum balance due on your credit card is less than the finance charges which means that even though you are paying your minimum balance you are paying interest on interest and your debt continues to climb!
Here are 3 great strategies that you can choose from and decide which is the best way to pay off credit cards in your circumstances:
1 Pay Your Smallest Credit Card Debt First
Make a list of all your credit card balances from lowest to highest. With this method you pay the minimum balance owing each month on all your credit cards and pay as much extra each month as you can towards the lowest balance.
This means you will wipe that balance out the fastest. Once you have wiped out the lowest balance credit card you then take the extra amount of money you would have been paying each month to the credit card you have just settled and pay that to the next lowest balance.
This is one of the most common methods used since it will give you a sense of achievement and you will feel motivated to continue paying off your debts.
This method is often referred to as the “snowball strategy”.
2 Pay the Highest Interest Rate Credit Card Debt First
Make a list of all your credit card debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. With this method you pay the minimum balance owing each month on all your credit cards and then pay as much extra as you can to the credit card balance with the highest interest rates first until that balance is paid up.
Using this method might not give you as much immediate satisfaction as the first option, but it will certainly save you a lot more money in the long term than any other strategy you may use for paying off your credit cards.
2 Pay all Balances Equally
This method involves working out how much money you have available to pay off your debt and paying each balance an equal amount.
Make sure that by doing this you are meeting the minimum payment obligations for each credit card and preferably paying more than the finance charges on that credit card.
This approach will be one of the slowest ones approaches to paying off your credit card debt.
When you decide on a strategy choose the one that feels right for you, you can also mix them up a little to suit your personal preferences such as paying an equal amount on all credit cards and debt but adding a little extra each month to the lowest balance debt and the one with the highest interest.
The most important thing is to choose a strategy that feels right and keeps you motivated to continue to pay your credit cards and get yourself out of debt.