After spending the past few weeks talking about credit cards, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss some ways in which you can dig yourself out of a hole if that happens to be your situation. My friend Bola has helped me with managing my credit card payments, so I thought I would share her advice with you as well. I will be the first to admit that I'm not a saint when it comes to credit cards, which is why I think you'll find her article very helpful when you are focused on paying down (and off) your credit card debt too
Debt sucks. There's really no other way to say it. The good news is that if you have the right mindset and are committed to paying off your debt you can totally do it. I've complied a list of 15 ways to pay off your credit card debt fast (or other debt).
"The good news is that if you have the right mindset and are committed to paying off your debt you can totally do it."
For the biggest impact, use a combination of these tips and if you stay focused, in a few months you'll be surprised by the difference these small changes will make in paying off your credit card debt. So here goes:
1. Stop all spending on credit
Once you decide you are done with debt, you need to be REALLY done with debt. This means no more spending on credit unless you have to make payments that require a credit card and in that case you should be paying off those charges in full each month. Otherwise, grab your ziploc, put in your credit cards, fill it with water and throw it in the freezer!
2. Consolidate your debt into lower interest rate payments
A good idea might be to consolidate your debt into one monthly payment by transferring the balances from your different credit cards to a new single credit card that has a 0% or very low introductory interest rate.
These lower interest rates will help you reduce the amount of interest you are paying back BUT debt consolidation this only makes sense if you can pay off your debt within the time frame of the low introductory rate. Be sure to read the fine print very carefully so you understand any fees associated with the balance transfer.
3. Pay more than the minimum
This is a no brainer - Paying more the minimum saves you money on monthly interest payments which in turn will help you pay off your balance faster. So make it a goal of yours to pay as much as you can each month towards your credit card debt to reduce the amount of overall interest you'll be paying back to your creditors.
4. Use non-retirement or non-emergency savings
Got money sitting in a savings account earning little or no interest? You might want to consider using those funds to pay down your credit card debt.
Well, if you look at the big picture, you'll see that the interest you are paying on your credit card is not worth the pitiful interest rates your are earning on your savings account. Once your debt is paid off, you can put the money you would have otherwise been making on credit card interest payments towards savings.
5. Sell stuff you no longer use
You can make some quick cash by getting rid of electronics, clothing, shoes and accessories you've never worn or no longer use. You can try online sites to make your sales like eBay, Tradesy, Poshmark or at your local consignment stores. Tip: Price your items competitively and review the feedback of your potential buyers very carefully before you sell.
6. Start a side hustle
Are you good at a particular craft? Do people compliment you on your skills all the time? Then maybe it's time you start charging for those skills to earn some extra income. Baking, crafting, graphic design etc - earn some money with your talents and apply it to your debt.
7. Get a part time job
If running your own side hustle is not your cup of tea, you can consider getting a temporary part time job until your debts are paid off. Be sure to remind yourself why you are working the extra hours - to get rid of your debt.
8. Cut cable
Cutting cable can save you a lot of money each month. If you are not an avid sports fan, you might not miss cable at all. Consider switching to an online streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Video (included with Amazon Prime) to save some extra cash until your debts are paid off.
9. Lower your cell phone plan
Cell phone plans can get crazy especially when it comes to data. Try calling your service provider to see if there are any specials or offers they can give you for being a loyal customer or consider downgrading your plan to one that costs less.
10. Take lunch to work everyday
Eating out everyday add ups especially if the average lunch is $10 to $15 dollars. Instead, plan your lunches for the week based on what you have at home. Pinterest is a great place to get meal planning ideas if you need help coming up with meal ideas.
11. Skip the movies and nights out for a couple months
Movies and nights out also add up. Don't want to give up going out? Then skip the ridiculously priced popcorn and beverages at the movies and plan to skip the alcohol on nights out. These items are heavily marked up and you can put that money towards your debt instead.
12. Carpool with co-workers
Do you have any co-workers that live close by? See if you can set up a carpool schedule to save money on the amount of gas you purchase each week and put that savings towards your debt.
13. Cut down on your grocery spending
Saving a few dollars off your grocery bill can go towards your debt repayment. Do you really need all those ice cream flavors? Before you hit up the grocery shop, make sure you have a list and a full stomach, this way you don't get side tracked by buying what you don't need or by wanting to buy something to eat right away while you are there.
14. Cancel unused memberships at the gym
If you barely go to the gym, why waste money on a subscription that you could use against your debt? Love working out? Try working out at home or outdoors and see how you feel!
15. Put any extra money you make like tax refunds and bonuses to your debt
Those refunds and bonuses can make a huge impact against your debt. Have you been waiting all year to treat yourself? That's ok but think of how much happier you'll be with no debt. Plan to put most of that extra cash against your debt.
Implementing one, some or of all of these 15 tips will definitely get you well on the way to paying off your credit card debt. The amounts may seem small, but they really do add up and every single dollar counts towards your debt repayment. Also, be sure to build your repayment plans into your budget (check out my worksheets here).
Remember you are doing all of these things for a reason, and that is to get debt free asap, so keep your focus on that - it will be well worth it at the end.
Bola Onada Sokunbi
is a huge personal finance junkie, Certified Financial Education Instructor, money coach and founder of the website CleverGirlFinance.com which she created out of a passion to educate after several experiences with women who were afraid to talk about money, didn’t know what to do with their money situation and were struggling with debt even though they were very successful in other aspects of their lives.Clever Girl Finance provides financial education and empowerment for successful decision making, tied to everyday life as well as tips to inspire women to pursue their dreams of independence and wealth creation, through small business ownership. Her goal is to empower women to make the right decisions for their current and future selves as she believe that every woman can be financially successful in her own right no matter where she comes from if she has access to the right resources and support.
Make sure you visit her site and follow CGF on social media: