When people are carrying around a substantial amount of credit card debt, they sometimes have difficulty just getting started paying off that debt.
It’s easy to get frustrated quickly, and 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 works for you.
Know if You’re a Compulsive Buyer
Many people combat their own feelings of stress and anxiety by shopping compulsively. Maybe this is why you’ve found yourself with so much credit card debt.
If you can admit to yourself that you’re a compulsive shopper, then you can craft your strategy with this in mind. For example, to ensure you don’t keep adding to your debt, you can start by cutting up your credit cards.
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—gardening, reading a book, or going for a walk—the point is to get your mind off of your compulsive behavior long enough for the urges to pass.
Identify Wants and Needs
Another part of what makes you unique is that you have specific wants and needs that could be very different from other people. For you, something that another person might think is a want is something you strongly feel is a need.
It’s ok to have unconventional wants and needs. You just need to be able to identify them. Because—let’s be honest here—you’re not going to be able to get out of debt unless you avoid unnecessary spending on things that you don’t need.
Take a close look at past spending 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 the self-control to avoid those pesky “wants.”
Focus on High Interest Rates First
The trick to paying off credit cards fast is honing in on the one card with the highest interest rate, and paying that off first. And remember, it isn’t necessarily going to be the card with the biggest balance.
By paying off the cards with higher interest rates first, you’re lowering the amount you pay to the credit card companies in interest, ultimately reducing the overall amount you’ll wind up paying. The result—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.