When you are facing debt, you can spend hours of your day stressing about how to pay it off. Credit cards with high-interest rates can increase those stress levels. If you are juggling multiple credit cards with high balances in addition to your car loan and house payment or rent, it is essential to make sure you at least pay the minimum due.
If you are late on a payment, you can get hit with late fees and penalty interest which can quickly escalate your debt obligation. There are ways to ensure that you are managing your debt.
Here are three tips that we have for helping you juggle your debt to stay current with your payments.
1. Balance Transfer
This is arguably the simplest way to juggle debt. Once you have gotten behind on payments, or just run your balance up a little too high, the interest rate will begin to creep up.
Before you hurt your credit score anymore, try and apply for a credit card that has an introductory zero interest or low-interest balance transfer promotion. You then need to evaluate which credit obligation has the highest interest rate and transfer over that balance to the zero percent card. This will immediately help you begin to pay down your debt as all your monthly payment will go directly to the balance, and you won’t have to worry about interest fees.
Make sure you pay your monthly minimum on time every time, so the promotion period isn’t canceled out and you are once again hit with high-interest rates. If you are struggling to make the minimum, you can also consider a payday loan to avoid the high cost of late fees and increased rates.
2. Tackle Balances
There are many different methods for paying off debt. There is the snowball method which tells you first to tackle the card with the lowest balance, pay that off and then tackle the next in line and so on and so forth. This method has an excellent success rate because it gives you small wins at the beginning and helps develop the habit and discipline it will take to tackle the higher balance cards.
The second method is the avalanche method. This method calls for you to tackle the highest interest rate debt and pay that off, then move on to the next highest and so on. The avalanche method can save you money in added interest but can sometimes be challenging to stick to because of not seeing the results right away.
The most important thing to remember with either method is, once you have paid off a card, make a commitment not to use it, unless there is an emergency until you have managed your debt down to your goal.
3. Set A Budget
Working on a budget is a necessary task. When you are juggling credit card debt, it is difficult to see clearly what the real obligation looks like. The first step is to sit down and write out all your debt obligations, what the interest rate looks like and what the minimum payment amount is. After you have this clear picture of your debt, you can now begin to formulate a plan for paying it off using one or both methods above.
Figure out what your income is, how many other bills or household expenses you incur monthly and how much money you need for other incidentals. With the amount left over, work on putting just a small amount back each pay period into a savings account, and the rest will go towards your debt. The small amount you put into savings each pay period will become your emergency fund.
Start small but work your way up to having a six-month living expense emergency fund. This is the first step on your journey towards financial freedom.
Working your way out of debt takes time and discipline. Any step you take towards paying off debt is a step in the right direction.
While it can be painful to look at your finances and debt obligations, it is an essential step in making wise financial decisions and securing your future and retirement.
Once you accomplish these steps, you can begin to look for other ways to save money and cut expenses that will aid you in achieving your financial goals.