Credit card debt has been a problem in America for a long time. The concept of card debt dates back to the early 20th century when charge cards were first introduced. These charge cards allowed consumers to borrow money from specific lending institutions and use that money to pay for goods and services.
In 1958, American Express introduced the first credit card that could be used anywhere. Since then, credit cards have become a staple in American society. Unfortunately, so has credit card debt, impacting millions of Americans daily. In fact, according to a recent report from CNBC, an estimated 37 million Americans carry credit card debt from month to month, and the average household owes $15,654 in debt from credit cards.
There are several reasons why credit card debt has gotten out of control for so many people. In some cases, the problem is simply a matter of overspending and not being able to keep up with minimum payments. In other cases, unexpected expenses, life events, or job loss can lead to debt accumulation, making credit card debt difficult to pay off.
5 Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
At the end of the day, how you get into debt is less important than how you get out of debt. No matter your situation, there are a few things you can do to start paying off credit card debt. Here are a few of the best ways to pay off credit card debt:
Create a Budget
The most common and best way to pay off credit card debt is to create a budget and stick to it. A budget can help you become more aware of your spending patterns and find ways to cut back to free up extra money for your credit card payments. There are many methods to budget for credit card repayment, including:
Debt snowball method
This method requires you to list your debts from smallest to largest and focus on paying off the smallest debt first while making minimum payments on the rest. Once the smallest debt is repaid, you then focus on the next smallest debt, and so on. This method can help you stay motivated as you see your progress, and it can also save you money in the long run as you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first.
Debt avalanche method
Another budgeting method is to use the debt avalanche method, which focuses on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This can save you money in the long run, but it may not be as motivating as the debt snowball method.
Pay More Than the Minimum Payment
Another helpful way to pay off credit card debt is to make more than the minimum payment. If you only make the minimum payment on your credit card each month, you'll end up paying a lot more in interest, and it will take you longer to pay off your debt. As a general rule, try to make at least the minimum payment on all of your cards, and then put extra towards the card with the highest interest rate.
Transfer your Balance
An alternative solution to credit card debt is a balance transfer. If you have good credit, you can qualify for a balance transfer credit card. This tactic can be a great way to save money on interest and pay off your debt faster. However, it's important to read the fine print carefully before signing up for a balance transfer card, as some fees may involve.
Consult a Credit counselor
Sometimes it's better to get help from a professional. If you're struggling to get out of credit card debt on your own, consider working with a professional credit counseling service. These services can help you create a budget, negotiate with your creditors, and come up with a plan to get out of debt.
Commit to Your Goals
Whatever plan you make, remember to stick to it. Getting out of credit card debt takes time and effort, but it's possible if you're committed to making it happen. Sit down and determine a plan for how you're going to tackle your debt. Then, make sure you stick to that plan and don't give in to the temptation of using your credit cards again. It will be worth it in the long run.
Millions of Americans are struggling with credit card and personal loan debt, but financial freedom is possible. If you're struggling with paying back credit card debt, the finance professionals at Credit9 can help.