Tips for how to get your credit card balances down
Revolving debt can wreak havoc on your financial health, especially when your spending is compounded by high interest charges. For many, it’s tough to regain control. Until you do, you’ll never be able to successfully manage your revolving credit and develop a realistic plan to reduce your debt.
Here are some tips to help get your credit card balances to a more manageable level and get your spending back in check:
Prioritize your debt. Your highest interest rate accounts are the ones that are have the strongest negative impact on your finances, so focus on them first. It might be tempting to simply pay off those pesky, little, low-interest balances, but stay on course. Managing your debt takes time and discipline. Having a plan of attack is critical.
Pay more than the required minimum payment. A specific amount of your payment is designated to pay down interest so you’ll need to make a bigger payment to reduce the outstanding principal. Curious about how long it will take to pay down your balance using different payment schedules? Check out one of the many online payment calculators to see which amount works best with your budget and goals.
Make a lump sum payment whenever possible. Did you get a bonus at work? How about your tax return? Those additional payments will make a substantial impact on lowering your outstanding balance.
Avoid additional fees at all costs. Companies make every effort to discourage delayed and missed payments as well as above credit limit spending, so consequential fees are typically an expensive slap on the hand. Be sure you’re organized in your bill paying and diligent about your limits so your hard earned money is not spent paying for something that can easily be avoided. Both of these oversights can cause an increase in your interest rate, which will obviously hinder your progress.
Leave your credit at home. When paying down your debt, the last thing you want to do is to increase your existing balance. Now is the time to seriously look at your budget and realistically consider what expenses you can afford. Without a credit card readily available, you’ll consider your purchases more carefully, especially when you’re paying with the cash you have on hand or with your debit card.
Ask for help. Georgia’s Own Credit Union has a Member Solutions department that is able to offer their members assistance in managing their debt. Sometimes it’s just too overwhelming. They’re experienced and knowledgeable representatives are there to answer your questions and help you put a realistic plan in place to get you back on your feet.