When credit card debt starts piling up, it can be overwhelming. You may feel like it’s impossible to get out of debt. Even imagining a debt-free life is difficult. Like any other goal, you have to start somewhere. Here are some tips to start working towards your goal of eliminating credit card debt.
Eliminating Credit Card Debt in 4 Steps
1. Stop using your credit cards.
The first step to eliminating credit card debt is to stop accumulating debt. Of course, the interest from your current debt will continue to grow the longer you leave the debt unpaid, but you can minimize the debt accumulation by not using your cards. You may want to try using cash only to ensure you know exactly how much you are spending every week.
2. Create a budget.
Creating a budget will help you determine exactly how much money you have coming in and how much is going toward your expenses. It will help you know for sure how much money you can allocate toward paying off debt every month.
As a general rule, 35% of your budget should be allocated to housing expenses, 20% to savings and investments, 20% to transportation, 5% to debt, and 20% to additional expenses. Creating a budget is important, but sticking to it is even more important! Make sure that once you’ve written your budget down, you stick to it like glue!
3. Cut expenses and/or find other sources of income.
After you create your budget, you’ll have an idea of where you can cut expenses. Maybe you spend a lot of money on clothes every month. You can probably cut that expense by shopping less. Or, maybe you spend a lot of money on groceries, so you could start using more coupons to cut down on that expense. If you really can’t cut back anywhere, you may want to consider finding ways to make more money. Additional income from a side hustle could help, such as driving an Uber, walking dogs, or babysitting.
4. Seek help from a reputable credit counseling agency.
You don’t have to try eliminating credit card debt all on your own. There are credit counseling agencies that can help you get out of debt faster than if you were going to do it by yourself. Reputable nonprofit credit counseling agencies like ACCC have debt management programs that could help you!
If you need to speak to a credit counselor at ACCC, call 800-769-3571.