If you’ve gone a little overboard with your credit card spending you’ll be all too aware that while it’s easy to spend, it’s not so easy to pay off. But don’t worry because there are some surprisingly simple ways for you to manage your credit card debt and get your finances back on track.
Increase your minimum payment
If you only ever pay the minimum amount every month you’re never going to pay off your card debt because the minimum payment set by the card company is generally not even enough to pay off the interest. Work out how much you can afford to pay over and above the minimum payment; the more you can pay the quicker you’ll pay it off and avoid those punishing interest accruements.
Avoid unnecessary fees
If you miss a monthly payment the credit card issuer will always charge a late payment fee. To avoid this set up a direct debit to ensure your payments go out on time every month. Remember that something like a late payment charge can affect your overall credit score. Remember also that you will be charged a fee for taking out cash on your card so keep this option for emergencies only.
Multiple credit cards?
Not all credit cards have the interest rate set at the same level. Work out which card has the highest interest rate and pay as much as possible to this one because this is the one which is going to cost you the most. Don’t neglect any other credit card debts – make sure you pay at least the minimum payment on these every month.
Is transferring an option?
A good way to reduce your card debt is to transfer it to a new card which has a 0% balance transfer deal to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying. These cards are often interest-free for up to two years. The downsides are that you may have to pay an initial fee to facilitate the transfer and you have to have a good credit score to access the best deals.
Control your spending
It may seem obvious but the quickest way to get into debt is through unlimited spending and although it’s fun while you’re doing it at some point you have to rein it in. it’s too easy to lose control of your outgoings when you don’t physically see the money going out of your bank account. Make a list of all your outgoings and decide which are essential and which aren’t – look at your previous statements for this – then set a monthly budget and stick to it. You’ll soon be surprised at how much you can save and how much more quickly you can pay off your credit card debt.
Negotiate a restructuring of the debt
If you’re becoming overwhelmed by credit card debt it is worth contacting the card issuer. By explaining your situation you could ask them to defer interest payments for a set period until you can get your finances on track.