Paying down credit card debt is one of the best methods for repairing credit and improving your credit score. Here are easy and painless ways you can pay off your credit card debt:
1. Pay More Than the Minimum
With most minimum payments, it can take years to pay off credit card debt. Paying the minimum will not only hurt your credit score, but it will cost you a ton of money in interest. If you can afford it, you should pay more than the minimum.
If you can’t afford to pay more than the minimum, keep in mind that as you pay the principal down, your minimum payment will go down as well. However, you should keep paying the same amount you were paying before in order to pay down your debt faster. Eventually, you will be able to pay more than the minimum and repair your credit.
2. Find Extra Money
If you can’t afford to pay more than the minimum payments, try and find extra money. You don’t have to get a second job to pay down debt. For example, if your minimum payment is $40, be conscious of the fact that only $40 more per month will double your payment. You may have extra money in your budget or you may be able to earn cash. Here are some tips:
- Fill out surveys
- Use apps like Ibotta to get cash back from shopping
- Use coupons
- Try a no-spend challenge
- Reduce your spending by just $10 per week
3. Use the Snowball Method
For multiple credit cards, the best and simplest way to pay them off is to use the snowball method. With this strategy, you pay off the card with the lowest balance first. Then, you put the money you were using for that card toward the card with the next lowest balance, and so on. Here’s a step-by-step example:
- You have three cards. One has a balance of $300, the 2nd a balance of $1,000, and the 3rd has a balance of $1,500. You’re paying the minimum payments on all three, but you have an extra $50 you can use toward the debt.
- Take the extra $50 per month and apply it toward the 1st card; then, pay minimums on the others until they are paid off.
- Take the extra $50, the 1st card’s minimum and the 2nd card’s minimum, and apply to the 2nd card until it’s paid off. Continue paying the minimum on the 3rd card.
- Apply the $50, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd card’s minimum to the 3rd card until it’s paid off.
You will be debt-free relatively quickly without having to put a lot of money toward your credit cards.
4. Make the Most of Unexpected Cash
The fastest way to repair credit and pay off debt is to pretend extra money doesn’t exist. If you get a raise, bonus, overtime payment or cash gift at work, apply it toward your credit cards. You should budget as if overtime or bonuses don’t exist. That way, when you get the money you can use it to pay off debt or build savings.
5. Pay Twice
Some credit cards calculate interest based on average daily balance. If your credit card is one of them, remember that the easiest way to pay off the balance is to pay twice per month. Before you panic, you don’t need to pay twice the minimum payment each month. Instead, take your payment and divide by half. Pay that amount every two weeks. This will reduce your average daily balance, which will reduce your interest so you can pay off debt faster.
You can repair your credit score and pay off debt by following these strategies. Credit card debt may seem daunting, but you can unbury yourself and improve your credit.