Living with a lot of debt is a major cause of stress for millions of Americans. Trying to figure out how to pay off credit card debt can be a challenge. Where do you even start? Should you seek outside help from a credit counseling agency? We will outline the steps you can take to pay off your credit card debt and get on the path to financial freedom!
1. Create a budget.
The first step to getting out of debt is to create a budget. Figure out how much you need to be spending on expenses like housing, food, and transportation, and decide how much to contribute towards debt repayment. Ideally, you need to be paying more than the minimum payments. If you can only afford the minimums, readjust your budget and cut back on some expenses until you can put more toward your debt payments.
2. Pick up a side hustle.
If you want to pay off credit card debt even faster, pick up a side hustle. Put the money you make from this side hustle towards your debt repayment. A side hustle doesn’t have to be anything complicated. It can be as simple as driving for a ride-share app in the evenings or weekends. If you have skills like web or graphic design, you can start freelancing.
3. Choose a debt repayment strategy.
If you are paying off your debt on your own, without the help of a credit counseling agency, choose your debt repayment strategy. The two popular debt repayment strategies are the Debt Avalanche and Debt Snowball Methods.
The Debt Avalanche Method entails aggressively paying down the account with the highest interest rate first. Depending on how much credit card debt you have, this could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long-run that otherwise would have gone towards interest. On the rest of your accounts, simply pay the minimum. With the Debt Snowball Method, start paying down the account with the lowest balance first. This will give you the immediate satisfaction of seeing an account paid off quickly, and may help you stay more motivated.
How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt with a Credit Counseling Agency
If you are overwhelmed by the amount of debt you have, you might need to seek help from a nonprofit credit counseling agency. When you call one of these agencies, a certified credit counselor will ask you about your income, assets, expenses, and liabilities. Next, they will determine the best course of action for you. One option is a debt management program. In this program, your debts are consolidated into one monthly payment, and the payments are lower than what you would be paying on your own. This is because credit counseling agencies negotiate lower interest rates and fees with the creditors.
If you are struggling to pay off your credit card debt, ACCC may be able to help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today.