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Do you have credit card debt? You are not alone.
If you’re looking for ways to pay off credit card debt fast, there are lots of ways to help you do this! Take a look at these debt-busting strategies to accomplish your goal of eliminating your credit card debt.
The Good and Bad of Credit Card Debt
Credit cards help you get in debt. If you can’t afford something, you use a credit card. Credit cards are disguised in many ways, coming with various perks and benefits like:
- Travel miles
- Cash back
In the end, credit card debt is not good. It helps you buy something in the short term but you’re buying something you can’t afford because if you could afford it, you’d pay cash. It’s a hard truth.
Whichever way you got here, millions of people stand beside you, owning credit card debt, but don’t worry, there are ways to help you eliminate these debts fast.
Before you get started, you want to face your credit card debt.
This might be tough but, access all your statements and look at the face of all your credit card debt. You want to look at your debt as a whole and look at it in pieces.
As a whole, look at the total of your balances.
Then, in pieces, pay attention to things like:
- Each individual balance
- Interest rate
Digest it all then craft your plan.
There are two ways you can tackle debt. Paying off the highest interest rate first or paying off the smallest balance first.
There are pros and cons to each.
If you pay off your highest interest rate first, with this route you will be saving the most interest overall because after you pay off your high interest debt, it’s gone and you continue to pay off lower interest debt, without accruing high interest on your previous debt.
Alternatively, you can pay off your smallest balance first. Your smallest balance might not be your highest interest rate so you aren’t saving the most money in the long run but you are making small steps to your goal and it will motivate you to keep going.
Debt Avalanche Versus Debt Snowball Method
These are both interesting and effective techniques to debt payoff and we’ll be talking about each briefly.
First, debt avalanche. It’s a debt repayment strategy that works like this:
You make your minimum payments on all your debts.
As you pay off each debt, the minimum payment is added to the monthly payment for your next debt, causing an avalanche effect. This allows you to tackle big chunks of your debt at a time. Your monthly payment for all your credit cards stay the same but you are voraciously tackling your debt down.
In addition, you also start with your highest interest rate debt first. So you pay off the highest interest rate, then next highest rate, so on and so forth, paying off the lowest rate last.
The debt snowball method, by Dave Ramsey, works in the opposite way. You pay off your debt in order of smallest balance first. So, you pay off your smallest credit card, then the second smallest, so on and so forth, paying off the biggest balance card last.
By getting your small win up front, you get boost of encouragement and it motivates you to keep going in paying off your credit card debt. Your monthly payments for all your cards don’t change here either. As with debt avalanche, when you pay off your smallest balance card, you then take that minimum payment and apply it to the second smallest balance card and continue on.
When it comes to paying off your credit card debt, think about trying one of these methods.
Which one will you choose?
1. Debt Consolidation
Consolidating your debt means you will combine all your credit card debt into one account, most likely a bigger credit card or personal loan.
Why do this?
Consolidation is beneficial for many reasons:
- Lower interest rate
- Less fees
- Repayment schedule with fixed monthly payments
Debt consolidation can actually save you a lot of money but there are some flags you want to watch out for:
- Higher interest rate
- Longer term
- Expensive fees
Higher Interest Rate
If you get a higher rate with your consolidation, you might wonder why some people would still take advantage. Because the rate can be hidden by a lower payment. Many people think if your monthly payment goes down, it means your rate is lower.
Consider this example:
Sally has 3 credit cards with balance of $10,000 each, a total of $30,000. Her first interest rate is 8%, second interest rate is 7.5% and third interest rate is 10%, and she pays $1,250 per month total.
Sally consolidates her credit cards into a personal loan of $30,000 at an interest rate of 13.5% with a monthly payment of $850 per month total.
If your goal is to save money and pay off your credit card debt faster, a debt consolidation in this scenario would not help you.
Though a lower monthly payment is attractive, you are paying more over time.
Your term can also be extended and while doing this can lower your monthly payment, it draws out the length of your loan which means you pay more in interest over time.
Look at all the fine print in your loan terms to make sure you aren’t going backwards with a longer term.
Fees are common for balance transfer and for new loans but if they are exorbitant or come with poor terms like a balloon payment or other unfavorable terms, turn and run in the other direction.
Consolidating your credit cards can make sense. Make sure you look closely at all the terms to make sure you are making the right financial decision, in line with your goals.
2. Take a 0% Interest Rate Offer
You cannot beat 0% interest. That’s got to be lower than your current rate. If you get an offer like this, seriously consider taking it.
It means you’ll go from paying interest to not paying interest.
- Length of Term
Length of Term
Your length of term or grace period is the timeframe that 0% will be available. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that you will get 0% interest rate as a permanent interest rate on your credit card. Cards like this just don’t exist. If you think about it, how would the bank make their money if they offered no interest indefinitely?
So, a grace period will be tied to the offer.
This period can vary, according to the card, what you qualified for and other factors. It is not unusual for the grace period to be 6 months up to 24 months.
If you are able to get a generous 24 month 0% offer or longer, consider yourself lucky.
Once you accept the offer, you want to make sure you vigorously pay off this card as quickly as possible. Because of the short timeline on the no interest offer, you want to whittle your balance down as fast as you can so you can hopefully pay off the balance before the interest rate kicks in.
And, by the way, when the rate kicks in, it is possible that it’s higher than your current rate.
Should you still take the offer?
Perhaps. Especially if you think you can pay off the balance before the introductory promotion rate of 0% switches over and the grace period ends.
If you are unsure, take your time and crunch the numbers to see if it still makes financial sense.
For example, if you transfer your 10% interest rate credit card balance of $5,000 to the 0% card (switches to 14% after grace period) for 18 months and you determine it will take you 24 months to pay off the card, then effectively, you will have 18 months at 0% and 6 months at 14%. Now, will that 6 months at 14% be less interest than 24 months at 10%?
Do the math to see if this makes sense for you.
Balance Transfer Fees
These exist with a lot of banks. Again, these fees should not be exorbitant and provided they don’t set you back, meaning you’d pay more money with the balance transfer because of fees, compared to your current card, then you should take advantage of a 0% card, all day long!
3. Stop Using Credit Cards
It’s counterintuitive. If you are trying to pay off your credit card debt, you need to stop using your cards.
Is it hard for you?
Try hiding your cards.
Even if you plan not to use your cards again, avoid closing them, which can hurt your credit. Put them out of sight and stop using them, while you are working toward your goal of paying them off.
That is all.
4. Adjust Your Budget
Adjust your budget for debt repayment. This means restructuring your budget to take any extra money available to put toward your debt.
This pairs well with any primary debt pay off strategy you take:
- Debt consolidation
- 0% Balance transfer
- Debt avalanche
- Debt snowball
The same goes with an extra money that may come your way. Take your windfalls like tax refund or work bonus, and put it toward your credit card debt.
5. Lower Your Expenses
Cut expenses to pay off your debt faster. Take the extra money you free up and put it toward your credit card debt.
Here are some ideas for lowering your bills:
- Cut back on the extras
- Stop all subscriptions
- Downsize your house or car
- Go petless
Cutting Back on Extras
This means quitting your gym membership, cutting the cable, and removing all other extras from your lifestyle for the time being. You can always reintroduce these things back into your life once your debt is paid off.
Part of the extras, pricey subscriptions add up and are not necessities so you can eliminate all subscriptions like:
- Monthly Amazon subscriptions
- Speciality food boxes
- Book club
- Music streaming
Downsizing your House or Car
A pretty drastic change but it will have a big impact to your budget and allow you to pay off your debt that much faster. For downsizing your house, this could mean moving to a more affordable area, getting roommates, or moving in with family.
For your car, you could lease instead of buying, or go for a smaller vehicle, ditch your vehicle all together and take public transportation.
Pets are expensive. These furry friends can feel like family for a lot of folks but the cost and maintenance adds up and will not help you pay off your debt faster.
Last year, I spent almost $1,000 on my cat.
- Pet insurance
- Specialty food (for health reasons)
- Vet visits
- Flea control and other medications
It really does add up.
We spoke briefly about downsizing your home up above. Moving to a different area can allow you to save a lot of money too. Location, location, location, as they say. Moving to a more affordable location can allow you to live the same way you do now, in terms of the size and type of home you have but for a cheaper housing payment. Think about it.
6. Negotiate for Lower Rates
Once of the easiest and fastest way to help you pay off your credit card debt fast. Call your creditors and ask for a lower interest rate.
Give it a try on each credit card you have.
There are even scripts to help you talk to the credit card companies!
7. Debt Forgiveness
This one might be a long shot but it is worth a try. Call your creditor and try to convince them to forgive the loan.
How can you possibly accomplish this?
If you are burdened by you finances, in other words, if you are in serious financial difficulty, this might be a bargaining chip. Or, if you had a cosigner pass away or other circumstances, you could negotiate your debt be forgiven.
Be careful with this one. You want to avoid this being reported to the credit bureaus negatively. Make sure you understand all the terms before you agree.
8. Double Up on Payments
I did this on my car when I was in college. I was 19 and in college. I had a 6 month gap between my lease expiring and moving to another city to transfer to a university so I moved back in with my parents and the money I saved on housing, I put toward my car payment and doubled up on payments.
Do this with your credit cards, if you have the ability to.
It makes a huge difference. Pull this off as long as possible and watch your credit card debt shrink away.
9. Ask for Overtime
Working more hours in overtime pay at work can help you earn more and put it towards your credit card debt.
Other than asking for overtime, consider these ways to get more money at work:
- Take on a second job
- Join a special project
A second job at your first job? A lot of people do this. Like my English teacher who was also the basketball coach. Or, my personal banker coworker who also was the night security guard on weekends. It’s a good way to double up on your income to pay off debt fast.
If your job has special projects with special project pay, this is an opportunity to make more.
When I worked in finance, I was able to work a special project for a few months. I really loved it because it was nice change of pace from the current work I did. It was completely different and it came with different pay.
Give this a try.
10. Pick Up A Side Hustle
We are living in a time of side hustles. It seems like everybody has one. Here are some side hustles to try that you might like:
- Delivery jobs
- Video Influencer
- Social media Influencer
- Survey Taking
Deliver a host of different things from takeout food, groceries, dry cleaning, alcohol and more. Check out delivery jobs like:
These all have a few things in common including working from your car working on a cell phone app, flexible hours, and weekly pay.
If this sounds up your alley, you are not alone. There are more and more drivers joining the ranks of these companies every day. Check them out to see what you think.
An underrated hustle, blogging is a great way to build an audience online and make a lot of money in the process. On my first blog, I went from zero to $1,000 per month in the first few months. Other bloggers start making four figures from month 1!
You start by picking a topic you’ll blog about like food, fashion, career, finance, etc.
Then, create your blog, start writing, and monetize!
Learn about starting your own successful blog here.
As a video influencer, you will likely be working on the YouTube platform, creating videos for an audience. Yes, this pays!
You can make money in various ways including from:
- Your own products and services
You can join YouTube’s ad network and place ads on videos. According to Business Insider, a million views can earn a creator around $2,000, though this can vary based on the type of influencer, content, etc.
I have seen YouTuber creators claim $20,000 from a single video! USA Today shared the top YouTuber of 2018, a 7 year old earning $22 million.
Sponsorships can pay very well. You will work with a company to feature them in a video. This could be a hair product, kitchen appliance, clothing retailer, etc.
It’s not unusual for one sponsorship to pay four to five figures or more!
Products and Services
YouTube is an excellent platform for you to put out your own products and services. Creators are showcasing their skills and making money with products like:
- Coffee mugs
- Beauty products
- Digital courses
Services offered include:
- Video editing
It can be very rewarding and a fruitful venture, as a video influencer.
Social Media Influencer
A social media influencer is a creator on social media like Twitter, Instagram, or other social networks. They can earn in the ways described above.
If you love social media, post often, and have a strong following, this might be a good fit.
Make money sharing your opinion in paid surveys. Use this extra money to put toward your debt to pay off that much faster.
Surveys are rewarding, fun, and you can take them whenever you’d like, 24/7. Not a bad way to make money working from home, or working from your cell phone.
Here is a list of 25 awesome surveys that can earn you an extra $600/month!
11. Start a Business
If you have ever dreamed of starting a business, there is no better time than today. Forming your own business is a good way to make more money and contribute those earnings toward credit card debt.
You can create a service-based or product-based business.
A service-based business is a business that offers services. This is a low-startup business that requires no overhead and offers the ability to help others in services like:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Massage therapy
A product-based business sells products, digital or physical, like:
- Digital courses
- Fashion accessories
- Home decor goods
Sound interesting? Check out our review of commerce platforms, to look at side-by-side comparisons of 11 platforms.
Freelancing is an excellent opportunity for your monetize your skills. As a freelancer, you will be working as an independent contractor so you will want to be organized and detail-oriented, keeping your taxes in order and having the ability to prioritize, especially if you work with multiple clients.
You can take on as few or as many clients as you would like.
A lot of people enjoy freelancing because of:
- High pay and unlimited income potential
- Flexible hours
- Diverse array of work
- Explore creativity
- Help others and get paid for it
- Work from home
There are even more perks. And, it pairs well with your 9 to 5. It’s so flexible, you can do it as a hustle or do freelancing full time.
How to get started?
Start by looking at what you do now for a living? Can you do the same tasks as a freelancer?
If you can, look to these places to work and get clients:
You can also look on social media like LinkedIn and Facebook. Don’t miss these 10 places you can get started as freelancer.
Here are some freelance jobs that you could be doing:
- Graphic design (logos, branding, social media graphics, etc.)
- Web design (creating and designing websites)
- Social media management (creating and posting social content for companies)
- Video editing (editing videos)
- Voiceover (applying your voice over video or illustration)
- Copywriting (writing for bloggers, magazines, websites, etc.)
- Proofreading (checking for grammar and spelling errors on copy)
- Transcription (typing what you hear from audio files)
Pro Tip: Check out these 15 freelancing skills in high demand.
I have been freelancing for several years now and absolutely love it. I never get bored, enjoy a flexible schedule, meet a lot of cool, interesting people and learn along the way. This is a good option for extra money to put toward your debt.
What do you think of these 12 ways to pay off debt fast? Let us do a quick recap:
- Debt consolidation
- Take a 0% credit card offer
- Stop using credit cards
- Adjust your budget
- Lower expenses
- Negotiate better terms
- Debt forgiveness
- Double up on payments
- Ask for overtime at your job
- Pick up a side hustle
- Start a business
Did we miss anything?
Do you have some amazing debt pay off strategies you’d like to share? Please contribute to the conversation. Comment down below so we can hear what you think!