When people are carrying around a substantial amount of credit card debt, they sometimes have difficulty just getting started paying off that debt.
Being in a lot of debt is not fun. One form of debt that can really sting is credit card debt. When you have a lot of debt to get rid of, it can be easy to get frustrated quickly, but feeling overly anxious about your debt isn’t going to help you pay it off any faster. So what is the best approach to eliminating your credit card debt?
A quick Google search of “how to pay off credit card debt” will give you over a hundred different answers. The truth is that different methods work better for different people. You need to understand your own personality and spending habits in order to choose the best option for you.
Are You a Compulsive Buyer?
Many people combat feelings of stress and anxiety by shopping compulsively. If you are a compulsive buyer than you might also have a lot of credit card debt. The only problem is, you’ll need to tackle your compulsive buying habits before you can bring down debts. If you can admit to yourself that you’re a compulsive shopper, then you can craft your debt strategy with this in mind.
Step 1: Cut Up Your Credit Cards
To ensure you don’t keep adding to your debt, you can start by cutting up your credit cards. If you don’t have any credit cards in your wallet, then you won’t be able to spend that available balance and rack up your credit card bills even higher.
Step 2: Tackle the Compulsive Shopping Urge
Another trick is to come up with an activity that you can turn to whenever you feel the urge to spend compulsively. It could be anything! Maybe you can turn to gardening, reading a book, or going for a walk whenever you feel stressed or sad. The point is to teach yourself to do healthier things when you feel stressed or want to have fun instead of spending money.
Other Pastimes to Replace Shopping:
- Cooking or baking
- Sewing, Knitting, crocheting
- Do puzzles
- and so much more!
Identify Wants and Needs
Another part of what makes you unique is that you have your very own wants and needs. Your list of wants and needs is going to look different from another person’s wants and needs. For example, if you work in fashion then buying new clothes might be one of your needs while for most people that would be a want.
Step 1: List Wants and Needs
First, make a 2 columned list of all your basic wants and needs. It’s ok to have unconventional wants and needs so long as you can identify them. You need to be self-aware of your own wants and needs because you won’t get out of debt unless you avoid unnecessary spending on things you don’t need.
Step 2: Compare Past Spending with the List
Take a close look at your spending statements for the month and compare it to your list of wants and needs. How much was spent on wants? I bet you’ll discover that you have plenty of room to cut out unnecessary spending. If you understand what your needs are, then you won’t feel bad about spending money on them. On the other hand, you need self-control to avoid spending too much on wants.
Focus on High Interest Rate Debts First
The trick to paying off credit cards fast is to first pay off the card with the highest interest rate. This won’t necessarily be the card with the biggest balance. Dave Ramsey suggests you pay off smaller debts first and work your way up to the bigger ones. But focusing on high-interest debts first is also a wise choice so you can avoid spending as much on the accumulated interest.
By paying off the cards with higher interest rates first, you will lower the amount you pay to the credit card companies in interest, ultimately reducing the overall amount you’ll wind up paying. So your debt will be paid off faster and at a lower cost. Keep all other payments at the minimum, and once you’ve paid off the worst offender, move on to the next-highest interest rate.
Don’t Give Up
People make mistakes, and if you slip up along the way don’t give up on your overall goal. If you stumble then pick yourself up and continue on the path to financial stability.
“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”
Ultimately, you only fail if you stop trying. Debt can really weigh borrowers down. Sometimes it takes years to pay off debts. But if you stick to the best financial plan for you, you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and turn your finances around for good.