Problem: Credit card debt sucks. Even worse, it takes a long time to get out of credit card debt when you’re not paying your bill in full and you have a 15-22% interest rate on your balance. Each month your minimum goes up a little bit, but you don’t really get anywhere into paying your debt.
- STOP CHARGING TO YOUR CREDIT CARD. From this point on, you will NOT put anything on your credit card if it has a monthly balance of anything but $0. If you can pay it off IN FULL each month, continue using it only if you’re getting some sort of rewards from it (I fly a lot so I use my Southwest Credit Card for the free miles).
- Transfer your balance to a credit card with a promotional 0% interest rate and work on paying it off during that promotional period. That way, the payments you make go toward lowering your balance instead of paying interest.
Note: If you have one credit card and you’re financially able to put a lot of focus on it, you can get your card paid off in no time. If you have multiple, high balance cards, you may have to do several balance transfers or work on one at a time to pay them off. For more information and advice on paying off several credit cards, visit, http://www.credit.com/credit_information/debt_help/Tips-for-Paying-Off-Credit-Card-Debt.jsp.
The myth: Transferring balances lowers your credit score.
The truth: Since we’re all on a “get out of debt quick” plan, we’re not going to jump from credit card to credit card for several years to pay off one debt. Most promotional periods are 12-15 months. That’s a good chunk of time to try and pay off your card. If you need to jump cards once, that won’t hurt your credit score significantly, if at all.
Since credit cards are debts that typically have the highest interest rate, you want to go after these ones first. Any extra money you have, throw it at your cards.
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Tell us how you have paid off your credit cards!