Tired of living under the burden of your monthly Visa or MasterCard bills? Put just ONE of these smart ways to get rid of credit card debt forever into action, and you’ll be halfway there.
One of the most popular books about paying off debt on Amazon is Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save Money. If you want financial freedom (and who doesn’t?), it’s worth a peek!
And here are a few tips for paying off your Visa or MasterCard bills once and for all…
“The good news about our nation’s current economic challenges is that they have inspired many Americans to clean up their personal finances,” says financial expert Ethan Ewing, past president of Bills.com. “Now’s the time to make a fresh start.”
Are you ready for a fresh start? Then…
Stop charging up your credit cards! (seems obvious, doesn’t it?)
Commit to living without credit cards for a period of time — even if it’s just for one month.
“Imagine that your credit card is another checking account that you must balance monthly, and that overspending will cause you to go into overdraft – which, after all, is what debt amounts to,” Ewing says. To help pay off your credit card debts, withdraw cash for the week or month, or use a checkbook or debit card to make purchases.
Should you keep your old Visa or MasterCard accounts open? Read Should You Close Old Credit Card Accounts? for tips.
Live under budget – spend less than you make
Know exactly what you earn each month, and then spend less than you make. It’s an easy equation – like eating fewer calories to lose weight – but it’s easier said than done. Sometimes the simple tips are the smartest ways to get rid of credit card debt forever!
“Take responsibility for where your money goes, rather than allowing whims, advertising, habits or peer pressure to influence spending,” Ewing suggested. Basic budgeting templates can be found online, such as the free guide Bills.com offers, or in any number of personal finance books.
Commit to saving a certain amount of money every month
You may find it easier to save money if you set up an automatic way to transfer money to your savings account, or take advantage of direct deposit.
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“Consider savings a ‘bill’ that must be paid, even if it is as little as $1 per day,” Ewing said. To help pay off your credit card debts, create and stick to a financial budget.
Plan now for the future – because it’s later than you think!
Look to the future and think about upcoming large expenses, such as tuition, a lump insurance premium, a major car repair or holiday giving. Divide the annual expense by 12 and plan to save 1/12th of the total each month. Some people manage these savings through a financial software program or a ledger; others set up individual savings accounts for each goal.
To get rid of credit card debt, consider automatic transfers from your bank account to your credit card bill every month.
Be on time with your credit card payments
This is another smart tip for getting rid of credit card debt that is rarely followed:
Pay bills or credit card debts with checks or set up automatic payment plans to eliminate worries about a late or forgotten payment. The interest rates on credit cards are criminally high!
Pay off the credit cards that have the highest interest rates
If you cannot pay all of your debts down in a short period of time, then prioritize. Make minimum payments on credit cards with the lowest interest rates, and put all available funds to the card with the highest interest rate. Once that is paid off, put excess cash to the card with the second-highest rate, and so on until you are debt-free.
Buy home and life insurance – protect your family
In addition to savings, review insurance coverage to protect yourself from eventualities. Look into appropriate coverage, such as health insurance, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, car insurance, disability insurance, life insurance and long-term care insurance, as appropriate. Review your annually, or request a coverage review with an insurance agent, to ensure you have the proper coverage.
For more tips, read 8 Money Laws to Boost Your Bank Account’s Bottom Line.
If you have any tips or thoughts on these ways to get rid of credit card debt, please comment below…