Got the January credit card blues? Did you overspend on the holidays and it’s finally catching up to you? Are you wondering how am I going to pay my regular living expenses and pay anything towards my debt? It is possible to pay off those high-interest credit card debts with sacrifice and few smart tricks.
Know What You Owe
It’s amazing how many people are not sure exactly how much they owe and who they owe. Gather all debts and breathe. Figure out the exact date the payment is due and know what interest rate you are being charged. Educate yourself. Knowing amounts and due dates will help you make an action plan.
Make a Plan
Prepare a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly spending plan. List all income then deduct bare essential expenses for that time frame. The keyword is “essential” not wants. The leftover balance should be used to pay down the debt as fast as you can. The day you get paid transfer this amount to your credit card payment before you spend any of the rest. Make paying down the debt a top priority! The faster you pay the more money you save! Systematically pay as much as you can. Vacation pay, a bonus even a tax refund can be put to good use.
Stash the Card
You will never put a dent in the debt if you continue to use the card. It may seem impossible to live without the credit card safety net but remember the card is extra debt, not extra income! Stop the bleed. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it. Saying no to purchases may seem stifling but it is necessary. You must learn to live within your means.
Pay the Highest Interest Card
If you have several credit cards to pay, make at least the minimum (preferably more) on the lower interest card but pay the most you can afford as quickly as you can to the highest interest card. It will save you the most money over time. If you have credit available, consider transferring the balance from the highest interest card to a lower-interest card or line of credit to save money. Don’t forget to put the high-interest card away to avoid creating a revolving debt cycle.
Think Outside the Box
Consider liquidating assets like a TFSA to free up cash to pay off balances. Consider increasing available cash to pay debts by getting a part-time job or selling items on EBAY or other websites. Make it a plan to use the money to pay the debt. Got points? Use credit card reward points to pay off credit card balances/payments.
Most importantly, if you find yourself chasing your tail when it comes to debt, seek free advice from licensed insolvency trustee (LIT) who is the expert in the Federal law that provides options such as consumer proposals and bankruptcies. Having an expert evaluate your finances and lead you in the right direction is priceless for the future you.