Debt can make finances difficult and cause stress. That being said, it’s important to prioritize paying it off so you can focus on your other goals. The good news is that if you have the right mindset and you use these tips, you’ll understand how to pay off credit cards fast.
Table of contents
- Why debt can hurt your finances
- How to pay off credit cards fast
- Expert tip: Pick a few ideas and get started
- What are the best 3 ways to pay off credit card debt fast?
- What is the fastest way to pay a credit card bill?
- How do you pay off $2,500 in credit card debt fast?
- Articles related to how to pay off credit card debt fast
- Now you know how to pay off credit card debt fast!
However, to get in the right frame of mind, it’s worth understanding why credit card debt is so bad.
Why debt can hurt your finances
Having debt from credit cards that you are unable to pay in full each month can impact your financial goals.
The worst-case scenario is bankruptcy (find out about types of bankruptcies).
However, even the smallest debt owed to your credit card issuers can limit 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 create a debt repayment plan and knock down your credit card balance fast, you can then apply the money toward your goals. You can save and invest more and achieve your financial goals quickly.
How to pay off credit cards fast
Wondering how to pay off credit cards fast? Below is a list of 27 ways to rapidly knock down your credit cards (or other debt).
For the biggest impact, use a combination of these tips in your debt-repayment strategy. If you stay focused for a few months, you’ll be surprised by the difference these small changes will make in paying off your debt.
So here are our key tips on how to pay off your credit cards fast:
1. Develop the right money mindset
Your mindset is your thought process and the way you think about things. Having a positive money mindset when it comes to paying off your debt is really important because you empower yourself and tell yourself that you can get rid of it.
Studies even show there is power in positive thinking, according to U.S. Preventative Medicine. Paying off debt can take time, so you want to make sure you are mentally prepared.
Tell yourself things like “I can do this,” “Being debt-free is worth it,” and “Goodbye debt.” Not only should you tell yourself these things, but you need to believe them as well.
2. Create a budget for your spending
Creating a budget is your next step on how to get out of credit card debt. Here is an example of a budget to help you out!
Develop a spending plan each month that accounts for not only what to do with savings, bills, and debt payments but also any other spending, like unplanned trips to Target. Don’t add to your debt for these things.
A spending plan will help you be more mindful of your purchases. It’ll also provide a reference to compare what you planned to spend to your actual charges.
Consider checking in on your planned versus actual spending at least weekly. Doing so will help you take the guesswork out of what adjustments you’ll need to make to stay on track.
Then, you can avoid taking on additional debt.
3. Tally it all up and determine how much debt you owe
A big step in how to lower credit card debt is to determine how much you owe, to whom, and the associated interest rates. Bankrate’s credit card payoff calculator is a good place to start. I’m going to be honest and tell you that you can’t bypass this process.
It’s essential to figure out how much debt you have in total in order to create a plan of attack. And if that means breaking out your favorite glass of wine, playing some Beyonce, or calling up your bestie to get it done, then do it!
4. Create a financial plan; be patient and consistent
Get a financial plan in place to set goals, reduce credit card debt, save, invest, and create a good life for your future self.
While a budget is also necessary, it’s not the same as a financial planning process. A plan takes into consideration not just your bills and debt but where you want to be in the next few years and how much money you need to save and invest to get there.
A financial plan is a great way to figure out how to get rid of debt and help you stay focused and stay aggressive in becoming debt-free.
Give yourself time to make progress and start trusting the process to achieve the results you want. You might only be making a little progress at the start, but it’s all worth it.
5. Create a $1,000 emergency fund
It’s really important to have an emergency buffer even while paying off debt. If something happens, you can use this cash instead of going back to your credit cards.
Plan to contribute to your emergency fund a little bit at a time, e.g., $100 a paycheck. Also, consider opening a dedicated savings account, such as Christmas Clubs, for your emergency fund. It will help you to avoid accessing the funds until necessary.
6. Work out the fastest way to pay off credit card debt
You will eventually repay your debt by making your minimum credit card payments. As long as you don’t add any more charges and your interest rate remains fixed.
But it’s essential to create your own debt reduction strategy. Creating your own debt strategy will allow you to get out of debt sooner.
Two popular options for a debt management plan are the debt avalanche and debt snowball strategies.
With the debt snowball method and debt snowball worksheet, you’ll tackle your smallest balance first. As you eliminate one source of debt, you’ll move your minimum payment plus any extra funds set aside for debt repayment across to tackle your next-smallest debt. Your snowball will keep growing as you tackle larger and larger debts until you’re finally living debt free.
The debt avalanche vs snowball method is focused on the interest rates attached to your debt. In the debt avalanche method, you’ll start by paying off the loan or credit card debt with the highest rate before moving on to the next highest interest rate. It has an avalanche effect on the remaining amount you owe.
Take a look at your individual debt pile, and work out whether the snowball or avalanche method will be the fastest way to pay off credit card debt in your situation.
7. Stop all spending on credit
Once you decide you are done with debt, you need to be REALLY done with debt. Not making room for debt in your life means using your debit card instead and 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!
Sometimes using your credit card is safer than using a debit card. Especially when it comes to online shopping fraud protection and travel protection. In this case, be sure you build that spending into your budget.
This approach is the fastest way to pay off credit card debt simply because when you stop increasing your debt, the only place for it to go is down.
8. Consolidate your debt into lower interest rate payments
You may be wondering, is debt consolidation a good idea for you? You can consolidate your debt into one monthly payment by transferring the balances from your different credit cards and loans to a new single credit agreement that has a 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or very low introductory interest rate.
These lower interest rates will help you reduce the amount of interest you are paying back. Keep in mind a debt consolidation loan only makes sense if you can pay off your debt within the time frame of the low introductory rate.
Depending on your credit score and the amount of debt you have, you may want to consider transferring your credit card balance to a 0% APR card.
However, be careful when taking this route because you’ll need to pay off your balance before the promo rate expires.
Otherwise, the rate can skyrocket, and you will end up paying costly interest on your debt. So, if the 0% APR offer is for 18 months, you need to figure out if you can afford to pay it off within that amount of time.
Also, if you do transfer your balance, commit to not using the existing card (or even close it!). The last thing you want to do is have another credit card lying around, especially if you have a shopping addiction.
9. Consider a balance transfer card
Part of your debt consolidation plan may be to apply for a new balance transfer credit card offering 0% interest. Balance transfers let you move your debt to a new credit card in place of the old one. (First, find out how do balance transfers on credit cards work.)
There is a balance transfer fee associated with the debt you’re moving across to your new card issuer. After all, credit card companies want to make money off the deal.
If you want to know how to pay off credit card debt fast, then chances are you might be in a rush! But be sure to read the fine print very carefully so you understand exactly how your balance transfer card works.
You also want to make sure you have a good sense of how the interest is applied. Look out for higher interest rates kicking in once the intro period has expired.
10. Pay more than the minimum payment
Whether you have a personal loan, auto loan, or credit card, your lender will specify the minimum payment you must make each month. But this is often a very small amount.
Paying more than the minimum saves you money on monthly interest payments, which in turn will help you with how to use credit cards wisely, in addition to how to pay off credit cards fast.
Make it a goal of yours to pay as much as you can each month towards your debt to reduce the amount of overall interest you’ll be paying back to your creditors.
11. Reduce the number of credit cards you own
A key tip on how to lower credit card debt is to reduce the number of credit cards you have. You don’t need 5-10 credit cards that are tempting you to spend money you don’t have.
Everyone is different, but most people have at least three credit cards, according to Investopedia. Credit cards can be useful when used correctly.
As long as you can learn how to stop spending money, having three cards allows you to carry two cards and leave one in a safe place at home.
However, you should have a rainy day fund so you don’t have to rely on your credit card if an emergency pops up.
12. 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 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’re earning on your savings account.
Once your debt is paid off, you can put the money you would have otherwise made on high-interest credit card payments toward savings.
Caveat: If the money you have set aside is your emergency cash, it’s important not to touch this in case of an unexpected expense cropping up.
13. 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.
Tip: Price your items competitively and review the feedback of your potential buyers very carefully before you sell.
14. Start a side hustle
Are you good at a particular craft? Do people compliment you on your skills all the time? When it comes to how to pay off credit cards fast, maybe it’s time you start charging for those skills by starting a side hustle to earn some extra income.
If you’re a pro at baking, crafting, graphic design, etc., why not earn some money with your talents and apply it to your debt?
15. Get a part-time job
If running your own side hustle is not your cup of tea, 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 – because you’ve been eager to learn how to pay off credit cards fast and get rid of your debt.
Choosing one of the best work from home jobs could be a great way to earn some part-time income.
16. Cut cable
Cutting cable can also save you a lot of money each month. If you’re not an avid sports fan, you might not miss cable at all. There are also tons of cable alternatives.
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.
17. Lower your cell phone plan
Cell phone plans can get crazy expensive, 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.
Otherwise, consider downgrading your plan to one that costs less. It will lower your monthly expenses so you can put more money towards debt payoff. It may even help you learn how to spend less time on your phone.
18. Take lunch to work every day
Eating out every day adds up, especially if the average lunch is $10 to $15 dollars.
Instead, plan your lunches for the week based on what you have at home, or try these cold lunch ideas. Groceries are less expensive overall than takeout.
19. 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.
20. Carpool with co-workers
Do you have any co-workers who 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 toward your debt.
Carpooling saves money in the long run, and it doesn’t require much extra effort.
21. Cut down on your grocery spending
Saving a few dollars off your bill by frugal grocery shopping 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.
22. 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!
23. Put any extra money you make like tax refunds and bonuses toward your debt
Those refunds and bonuses can make a huge impact on your debt and help you gain momentum to pay it off. But maybe you’ve been waiting all year to treat yourself. That’s okay, but think of how much happier you’ll be with no debt.
Plan to put most of that extra cash against your debt and learn how to pay off credit cards fast.
24. Contact a credit counseling service
If you’re really struggling with how to lower credit card debt, it may be worth speaking to professional credit counselors. They can help you come up with strategies to pay down your debt faster.
A credit counselor may negotiate on your behalf with credit companies to get you a lower interest rate and make your situation more manageable.
If you want to reach out to a credit counselor, the best place to start is by understanding how to find the right counselor. The Federal Trade Commission explains you can look for reputable counselors at universities or credit unions and check out resources such as your state consumer protection agency for complaints, in addition to other background checks.
25. Build up a cash cushion
A lack of a financial buffer to cover an unexpected cost can contribute to credit card debt. That’s why it’s important to build up a cash cushion to avoid creating new debt when these situations come up.
A cash cushion can be separate from your emergency fund, and it can cover things like variable or one-time expenses or anything that you forgot to budget for.
If you’re wondering, “How much should I save each month?” review your last twelve months of spending. Identify the total amount of unexpected expenses you charged on credit. Use this as your initial cash buffer goal.
26. Automate your payments
Learning to automate your finances can help with your debt freedom journey.
However, it’s important you pay more than the minimum. Figure out your debt payoff plan, then budget your payments to be automatically transferred for that amount.
For example, let’s say you have an additional $200 a month to pay toward your debt. Set up an automatic payment of $200 every month to knock down your balance fast.
Automating your payments will prevent you from paying your bill late and keep you on track toward becoming debt-free!
27. Find accountability partners
Getting an accountability partner is one way to ensure you don’t slack on your new responsibility of debt payoff, which will allow you to achieve your short term savings goals as well as more long-term goals.
Their job is to assist you along your journey, motivate you, keep you grounded and focused, and help you prioritize your goals.
Expert tip: Pick a few ideas and get startedThere are a lot of ways to pay off debt. But to avoid overwhelm, remember this: the most important thing is to make a plan and a budget.
From there, you can decide on a couple of ideas that you want to pursue, such as reducing the number of credit cards you own and carpooling to work.
Choosing a few things to do and getting started is better than not doing anything at all because you don’t know where to begin.
What are the best 3 ways to pay off credit card debt fast?
The first two are methods you can use to determine the order you pay off your debt. The avalanche method involves paying the debt with the highest interest rate first, and the snowball method involves paying the smallest debt first.
But another idea to add to these is to make more money by trying some unique side hustles or asking for a pay raise and using all the extra money to get rid of your debt that much faster.
What is the fastest way to pay a credit card bill?
The fastest way to pay a credit card bill is to find one method to use for debt payoff and stick with it. If you spend too much time deciding on what is the best method and you never get started, it wastes valuable time.
You can choose any method or idea for paying off debt. Just make sure that you really are focused on it, and you’ll see progress.
How do you pay off $2,500 in credit card debt fast?
The best way to pay off $2,500 in credit card debt fast is to earn some extra money. $2,500 might seem like a lot, but if you take on a temporary side job or do some freelance work, you can likely pay it off in no time.
So earn some quick cash and get rid of that debt!
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Now you know how to pay off credit card debt fast!
Implementing one, some, or all of these 27 tips will definitely get you well on the way to learning how to pay off credit cards fast.
You might start out only being able to afford small amounts, but those amounts really do add up. Every single dollar you pay counts and will make a difference toward staying out of debt. Don’t forget to build your repayment plans into your budget and track your progress.
Remember, you are doing all of these things for a reason, and that is to get and stay debt-free, so keep thinking about that – it will be well worth it in the end. Focus on the good and keep track of your progress, and you will succeed!