A few years ago my husband and I paid off our credit cards. Finally. We had dreamed about paying off our credit cards from the day we got married. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a plan at first, so paying off our credit cards remained a dream.
Eventually we made a plan to pay off our credit cards. And our plan worked! So if you have a credit card balance that you’d like to see paid off, maybe our plan will work for you.
1. Transfer your balances to a card with an introductory 0% APR. When we did this, I hated the idea of opening up another credit card, but at the same time, I knew a 0% APR would make paying off my credit cards go much quicker.
The key is to find a card with a low introductory rate that will remain low until you can pay it off. In our case, we paid off our credit card before the rate went above 0% APR.
2. Stop using your credit cards. If you are carrying a balance on your credit cards from month to month, you need to stop using your credit cards. Period. You will never pay them off if you keep adding to the balance.
Freeze the cards, if you aren’t ready to cut them up. Eventually we shredded our cards. It was a very scary, yet freeing moment. We haven’t used credit cards since.
3. Snowflake payments. Snowflakes are little bits of money you collect to pay off your debts. Money from selling things on ebay, babysitting, a second job, or whatever extra money you come up with. Set that money aside in a jar. Once a week make a payment on your credit card, using your snowflaked money. Check with your bank first, to make sure you can make weekly payments without incurring extra fees, though.
4. Use the debt snowball. The debt snowball is simple. When you pay off one credit card, add the amount you were paying toward the first credit card to the payment on the next credit card. For instance, if you were paying $100 a month on the first card and $50 a month on the second, when you pay the first credit card off, start paying $150 on the second card. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your debt starts to go down.
5. Make a commitment to never go into consumer debt again. Once your credit cards are paid off, don’t ever carry a balance again. Personally, I can’t imaging carrying around another credit card. But if you do, for rewards or other reasons, make sure you pay off the balance in full every month. It’s the only way to be truly financially free.
Photo by The Consumerist.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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