15 strategies for paying off your high-interest credit card debt

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Paying off your high-interest debt can be a difficult task. Knowing where to start, what steps to take next, and avoiding common mistakes can make the process much more manageable. Here are 15 tips to help you pay off high-interest debt quickly.

Why Is High-Interest Debt So Hard to Tackle?

High-interest debt is difficult to pay off because the interest compounds over time. You are paying back the amount of money you borrowed and all of the accumulated interest.

 

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If you have a $1000 balance on a credit card with an interest rate (APR) of 18% and only make the minimum monthly payment of $20, it will take you 111 months of debt payments (almost nine years) to pay off your debt. You will have paid more than $2000 in interest during that time.

It’s important to start tackling your debt as soon as possible. With some hard work and determination, you can become debt-free in no time.

Tip #1: Negotiate Your Interest Rate

Many creditors are willing to negotiate a lower interest rate if you have paid on time for several months.

There is no guarantee that they will say yes – but who knows?  You might be surprised by how accommodating some companies can be when their customers make requests like these.

 

Even if the interest rate is only reduced for a short time, you will save money.

Tip #2: Balance Transfer Credit Card

If you have a good credit score, you might be able to transfer some or all of your credit card debt to a zero or low-interest card. With a 0% credit card, you will pay off credit card debt faster.

 

Read the terms and conditions of any new credit cards carefully before transferring any balances. There may be fees associated with balance transfer cards, among other fees. Check with the credit card issuer before you pay a transfer fee.

Tip #3: Pay More Than the Minimum Payment Every Month

If you only make the minimum monthly payment on your debts, it will take you a very long time to pay them off. If you only make the minimum payment each month, you will end up paying more in interest than you originally borrowed.

 

High-interest credit cards are hoping you only make the minimum payment each month. Be sure to avoid this and make more than minimum payments each month.

Tip #4: Cut Unnecessary Expenses

To pay off your credit card balances more quickly, you need to find ways to free up extra money each month. One way to do this is by cutting back on unnecessary expenses.

 

Take a look at your budget and see where you can cut back without making too many drastic changes. Maybe you can cancel some of your subscriptions, brown bag your lunch instead of eating out, or drive less frequently. Making small changes like these can add up to significant savings over time.

Tip #5: Tackle Any Smaller Debts First

Pay off your smaller credit card debts first, and then work your way up to larger ones as you become debt-free. You’ll end up paying less interest overall this way. It also makes it easier as you only need to keep track of the lowest of your credit card balances.

Tip #6: Look Into Credit Counseling

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your debt, credit counseling may be a good option for you. A credit counselor can help you create a budget and repayment plan explicitly tailored to your needs.

 

A new set of eyes can often bring clarity to a financial situation.

Tip #7: Make Bi-weekly Payments, if Possible

Making two smaller payments every month can save you money on interest and pay off the entire balance more quickly.

Tip #8: Pay Off Highest Interest Rate First

Go after the highest interest rate first. By paying off this debt first, you will pay the least interest.

Tip #9: Refinance if It Makes Sense

Consider refinancing if you have a car loan, personal loan, or another type of debt with an interest rate higher than your current credit cards. You will reduce the total amount you pay over time and might even save you money on monthly payments.

Considering a personal loan or debt consolidation, the numbers have to make sense.

Tip #10: Look For Additional Forms of Income to Help Pay More Into the Debt

If you have a job and your debt load is high, it may be possible for you to make more money. There are many ways that this can happen. Here are some ways.

  • Ask for a raise at work (and even negotiate an increase in benefits like paid time off)
  • Start another part-time job or look into a side hustle and freelance opportunities online.
  • Rent out a spare bedroom in your house

Increase your income, and pay off credit card debt more quickly.

Tip #11: Utilize a Debt Repayment App

There are many different free apps out there that can help. Some popular options include Debt Tracker, Pay Off Debt, and Goodbudget. All of these allow you to input your current balances, interest rates, and monthly payments so you can see exactly where you stand at all times.

 

If you have multiple debts with varying interest rates, an app can help you organize everything.

Tip #12: Remove Your Card Information From Online Shopping Sites

Simply put, you will continue paying high amounts of interest to credit card companies when the temptation is at your fingertips.

Remove the multiple credit cards you have saved to every online retailer.

Tip #13: Sell Unwanted Items Around the House and Put the Money Towards Your Debt

One way to get a quick influx of cash is to sell some of your unwanted items around the house. Anything taking up space can be sold and put toward your credit card debt or personal loans.

 

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great for anything someone else can use.

 

Take pictures of the item, write a good description, and list the items.

Tip #14: Consider Debt Consolidation or Personal Loan

Taking out a new debt consolidation loan used specifically to pay off your other debts is one way to pay off card debt and have lower interest payments.

 

The advantage of debt consolidation is that you’ll typically get a lower interest rate than what you’re currently paying and only have one payment.

 

Debt consolidation loans are typically done through personal loans.

Tip #15: Build Discipline, so You Don’t Return to Old Habits After You Reach Your Goal

One common tactic used by those who want to get out of debt is paying yourself first.

 

Automatically put some money towards your debts every single month before spending anything else.

It’s hard to spend money when it doesn’t even enter the equation.

 

Make sure to have a budget that fits your needs. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

 

Download my free template here. All you have to do is input your information, and you’re on your way.

Building discipline and sticking with these types of actions over time isn’t always easy – so be sure to remind yourself what you’re working towards whenever temptation calls during difficult times or moments of weakness.

You Will Be Debt-Free

There are many different ways to get your debt under control – and the approach you take will ultimately depend on your unique situation.

 

These are just a few of the many methods you can use to pay off your high-interest credit card debt. If you’re having trouble making progress, remind yourself of the progress you have made before.

 

You will have a debt-free life soon. Keep at it.

 

This article originally appeared on MaxMyMoney.org and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

More from MediaFeed:

Residents of these states have the highest credit card debt

 

 

 

While credit card debt in the United States decreased from 2020 to 2021, the average cardholder still had $5,668 of credit card debt as of Q2 2021.

 

The average amount of credit card debt per person varies depending on age, race, income and location. MoneyGeek analyzed key credit card debt statistics to explore the state of debt in the U.S. and understand the factors associated with credit card debt.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

While credit card debt increased slightly from Q1 2021 to Q2 2021, it has decreased substantially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Q1 2020, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

 

The average credit card holder in the U.S. had $5,668 in credit card debt in Q2 2021 — that’s 1% higher than Q1 2021’s $5,611 average.

 

From the first Q1 2020 to Q2 2021, the average credit card debt per cardholder decreased by $766 or 12%. The average cardholder had $6,434 in Q1 2020.

 

In Q2 2021, the total credit card balance in the country reached $787 billion, 8.5% lower than the $893 billion recorded in Q1 2020. That means cardholders paid down $106 billion of credit card debt since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Debt per capita was $53,897 during Q2 2021, $958 higher than the $52,939 reported in Q1 of the same year. In comparison, the total debt per capita was around $52,204 in Q1 2020.

 

MoneyGeek.com

 

How much credit card debt the average American has is impacted by where they live. Keep reading to find out what the average credit card debt is in your state.

 

MoneyGeek.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,289

 

JoeChristensen

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,376

 

FierceAbin

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,521

 

Thomas Kelley

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,582

 

knowlesgallery

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,587

 

stevegeer

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,633

 

Rex_Wholster

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,651

 

f11photo

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,653

 

DenisTangneyJr

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,676

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,681

 

HaizhanZheng

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,686

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,692

 

haveseen

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,767

 

JoeChristensen

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,785

 

YinYang

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,791

 

Rdlamkin

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,819

 

marekuliasz

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,865

 

sequential5

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,888

 

dypics

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,900

 

” 4kodiak”

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,948

 

Davel5957

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $4,950

 

eyecrave

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,006

 

Swarmcatcher

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,047

 

James Deitsch

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,063

 

Michael Pham

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,080

 

AppalachianViews

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,120

 

mlauffen

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,121

 

” Darwin Brandis”

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,127

 

DenisTangneyJr

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,141

 

Rolf_52

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,157

 

wanderluster

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,182

 

dschreiber29

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,238

 

republica

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,256

 

danlogan

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,271

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,310

 

SeanPavonePhoto

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,327

 

DenisTangneyJr

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,365

 

ibsky

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,414

 

Boogich

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,422

 

AlizadaStudios

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,462

 

Pixabay.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,541

 

Jacob Boomsma / istockphoto

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,614

 

Art Wager

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,623

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,671

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,693

 

SeanPavonePhoto

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,848

 

DenisTangneyJr

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,977

 

James_Lane

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,978

 

aimintang

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $5,992

 

DenisTangneyJr

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $6,040

 

traveler1116

 

Average Credit Card Debt: $6,617

 

Chilkoot

 

Credit card debt tends to vary by age. MoneyGeek’s analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances found that, on average, older adults have more credit card debt than younger adults.

 

Data showed that people 35 or younger have the lowest average credit card debt at $3,700. Around 48% of individuals in this age group carry debt.

 

Adults 75 or older have the highest average credit card debt at $8,100, but just 28% of people in this age group have debt.

 

Meanwhile, 52% of Americans 45–54 years old have credit card debt, making them the age group most likely to carry it. The average credit card debt for this age group is $7,700.

 

MoneyGeek.com

 

By analyzing data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, MoneyGeek found that credit card debts and balances vary by household income.

 

Generally, households with higher incomes tend to have higher credit card debts. For instance, households in the highest income percentile — 90th to 100th — have an average of $12,600 of credit card debt. That’s more than three times more than the income bracket with the lowest average debt. Those with the lowest annual income percentile — less than the 20th — had the lowest average credit card debt ($3,800).

 

Americans in the 60th to 79.9th annual income percentile were most likely to carry debt; approximately 57% of individuals in this income bracket had credit card debt.

 

MoneyGeek.com

 

U.S. residents identifying themselves as white (non-Hispanics) reported an average of $6,900 credit debt, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. This group had the highest average credit card balance of any surveyed.

 

Black and African-American non-Hispanic cardholders recorded the lowest amount of credit card debt at an average of $3,900 per cardholder.

 

Hispanic and Latino cardholders had an average of $5,500 credit card debt per person during the same period.

 

Those who identified with a race outside those mentioned above or as multiple races averaged $6,300 of credit card debt.

 

Hispanics and Latino cardholders had the highest percentage of individuals with debt at 50%. Those who identified as other or multiple races had the lowest rate of individuals who carried debt at 44%.

 

Related:

This article
originally appeared on 
MoneyGeek.comand was
syndicated by
MediaFeed.org.

 

MoneyGeek.com

 

 

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Featured Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

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