Mapping out a plan to pay off debt is no easy task, especially when you have very little money left at the end of the month. When it comes to paying off credit card debt, you need a plan that is easy to follow and requires very little time to execute. These simple steps will get you on the right track in no time.
Track your expenses with a budgeting app
A great budgeting app is YNAN which stands for "You Need A Budget". It integrates with your banking and credit card accounts to analyze how your're spending your money. It shows you your income, categorizes your purchases, and helps you pinpoint non-essential spending. YNAB costs less than a Netflix subscription but is free for college students.
There are also other options like Mint, good fashioned spreadsheets, or HomeBank.
Create a plan
Start by writing out each of your account balances, interest rates, monthly payment amount, and due dates. Then organize your debts from smallest to largest. Before your month begins, create a plan to pay more than the minimum payment on your smallest balance.
Slash unnecessary expenses
When it comes to your new budget, pay close attention to the amounts on your bills and identify your biggest expenses. Prioritize the essentials like rent, utilities, daycare, student loans, and credit card payments. Then look through your bank statements and see if you have any space to reduce or cut costs like cutting canceling cable and canceling unused subscriptions.
Stop adding debt
If your goal is to pay down your debt, refrain from using your credit cards.**
"Balance transfer" (BT) cards can be a powerful tool for paying down your debt. BT cards usually offer 0% APR on balance transfers during the card's intro period. Note: CardGuru only classifies cards as being "balance transfer" cards if they have a 0% APR intro period for a period of 6 months or more.
Because you're not paying any interest during the intro period, you can focus on paying your card's balance a little each month without interest charges clawing back your progress.
Some Top Balance Transfer Cards on CardGuru:
- Receive unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
- Non expiring cash back as long as your account is open.
- Introductory cash back of 3% on all purchases for the first 12 months up to $10,000 then 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. No limit.
- Enjoy a 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
- 0% Intro balance transfer APR for the first 12 months.
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined bonus categories every quarter that you activate
- Unlimited and automatic 1% cash back on every other purchase
- Cashback rewards won't ever expire as long as your account is open
- Free credit score with Credit Journey™, updated on a weekly basis
- Ultimate Rewards points make it easy to transfer points across Chase cards
Hide your cards from yourself
Store your cards in a safe or, in extreme cases, consider cutting up your card with a pair of scissors. This strategy allows you to focus on paying down debt instead of adding to it.
Write down your purpose
Sticking to your new budget takes dedication. The truth is crunching numbers only gets you so far. Finding the true motivation for making a change will help you to follow through with your plan. Write down your purpose and put it in a visible location to remind yourself what you're working towards.
Ask for lower rates
If you have'nt been current on your credit card payments, make every effort to pay on the due date. After you have made several on-time payments, call the credit card company and ask them to lower your interest rate. Issuers are likely to reward long-standing customers who have a good payment history.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
While you can budget alone, getting your spouse or significant other on the same page will help you avoid pitfalls and ease stress. Set aside time to talk about your financial goals and review your spending habits.