Debt sucks. There's really no other way to say it. That being said, it's important to prioritize paying it off. The good news is that if you have the right mindset and a plan to pay off credit card debt fast, you can totally do it.
However, to get in the right frame of mind, it's worth understanding why credit card debt is so bad.
Why credit card debt is bad
Having credit card debt that you are unable to pay in full each month can be impactful to your financial goals. It limits your ability in terms of how much you save and in turn how much you are able to invest. This is because your money goes towards making credit payments each month.
If you are able to pay off credit card debt fast, you can then apply the money towards your goals. This means saving and investing more and being able to achieve your financial goals quicker.
15 Ways to pay off credit card debt fast
Below is a list of 15 ways to pay off credit card debt fast (or other debt).
For the biggest impact, use a combination of these tips and if you stay focused, in a few months you'll be surprised by the difference these small changes will make in paying off your credit card debt. So here goes:
1. Stop all spending on credit
Once you decide you are done with debt, you need to be REALLY done with debt. This means no more spending on credit unless you have to make payments that require a credit card and in that case, you should be paying off those charges in full each month.
Otherwise, grab your Ziploc, put in your credit cards, fill it with water, and throw it in the freezer!
2. Consolidate your debt into lower interest rate payments
A good idea might be to consolidate your debt into one monthly payment by transferring the balances from your different credit cards to a new single credit card that has a 0% or very low introductory interest rate.
These lower interest rates will help you reduce the amount of interest you are paying back BUT debt consolidation this only makes sense if you can pay off your debt within the time frame of the low introductory rate.
Be sure to read the fine print very carefully so you understand any fees associated with the balance transfer. You also want to make sure you have a good sense of how the interest works.
3. Pay more than the minimum
This is a no-brainer. Paying more the minimum saves you money on monthly interest payments which in turn will help you pay off your balance faster.
So make it a goal of yours to pay as much as you can each month towards your credit card debt to reduce the amount of overall interest you'll be paying back to your creditors.
4. Use non-retirement or non-emergency savings
Got money sitting in a savings account earning little or no interest? You might want to consider using those funds to pay down your credit card debt.
Well, if you look at the big picture, you'll see that the interest you are paying on your credit card is not worth the pitiful interest rates you are earning on your savings account. Once your debt is paid off, you can put the money you would have otherwise been making on credit card interest payments towards savings.
5. Sell stuff you no longer use
You can make some quick cash by getting rid of things you don't use. For instance electronics, clothing, shoes, and accessories you've never worn or no longer wear. You can try online sites to make your sales like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, or at your local consignment stores.
Tip: Price your items competitively and review the feedback of your potential buyers very carefully before you sell.
6. Start a side hustle
Are you good at a particular craft? Do people compliment you on your skills all the time? Then maybe it's time you start charging for those skills by starting a side hustle to earn some extra income. Baking, crafting, graphic design, etc earn some money with your talents and apply it to your debt.
7. Get a part-time job
If running your own side hustle is not your cup of tea, you can consider getting a temporary part-time job until your debts are paid off. Be sure to remind yourself why you are working the extra hours - to get rid of your debt.
A work from home job could be a great way to earn some part-time income.
8. Cut cable
Cutting cable can save you a lot of money each month. If you are not an avid sports fan, you might not miss cable at all. There are also tons of alternatives to cable.
Consider switching to an online streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video (included with Amazon Prime) to save some extra cash until your debts are paid off.
9. Lower your cell phone plan
Cell phone plans can get crazy especially when it comes to data. Try calling your service provider to see if there are any specials or offers they can give you for being a loyal customer or consider downgrading your plan to one that costs less.
10. Take lunch to work every day
Eating out every day add ups especially if the average lunch is $10 to $15 dollars. Instead, plan your lunches for the week based on what you have at home.
11. Skip the movies and nights out for a couple of months
Movies and nights out also add up. Don't want to give up going out? Then skip the ridiculously priced popcorn and beverages at the movies and plan to skip the alcohol on nights out.
These items are heavily marked up and you can put that money towards your debt instead.
12. Carpool with co-workers
Do you have any co-workers that live close by? See if you can set up a carpool schedule to save money on the amount of gas you purchase each week and put those savings towards your debt.
13. Cut down on your grocery spending
Saving a few dollars off your grocery bill can go towards your debt repayment. Do you really need all those ice cream flavors? Before you hit up the grocery shop, make sure you have a list and a full stomach, this way you don't get sidetracked by buying what you don't need or by wanting to buy something to eat right away while you are there.
14. Cancel unused memberships at the gym
If you barely go to the gym, why waste money on a subscription that you could use against your debt? Love working out? Try working out at home or outdoors and see how you feel!
15. Put any extra money you make like tax refunds and bonuses to your debt
Those refunds and bonuses can make a huge impact on your debt. Have you been waiting all year to treat yourself? That's ok but think of how much happier you'll be with no debt. Plan to put most of that extra cash against your debt.
Implementing one, some, or of all of these 15 tips will definitely get you well on the way to paying off your credit card debt.
The amounts may seem small, but they really do add up and every single dollar counts towards your debt repayment. Also, be sure to build your repayment plans into your budget.
Remember you are doing all of these things for a reason, and that is to get debt free asap, so keep your focus on that - it will be well worth it at the end.