How to Cut Credit Card Debt
The average American who carries a balance has a whopping $16,000 in credit card debt. Once your debt reaches these levels, you might feel like the problem is insurmountable, resigning yourself to a lifetime of revolving debt.
But you can significantly cut your credit card debt. It’s easier than you probably think — and it doesn’t even involve giving up your morning latte.
Cut Credit Card Debt: Finding Money
You might be surprised to hear that you may be able to find money to cut credit card debt. There are several very easy and painless ways that may help you find a little extra money by cutting credit card debt:
- Insurance Premiums: Every year, re-evaluate your insurance premiums, especially if you haven’t made any claims. It’s easier than ever to get competitive quotes on your insurance premiums. Once you have those, you can go to your current insurer and see if they’re willing to meet (or better yet, beat) what you’ve been offered. Bundling alone may save an average of $270 per year, while NerdWallet estimates that you can save 32% by comparison shopping.
- Subscription Services: It used to be magazines, but there are subscription services for just about everything these days — movies, music, cologne, you name it. But if you’re like a lot of people, you signed up for subscription services and were excited about them at first, but you might even have forgotten that you have them. Take a look at your most recent bank or credit statement and see what subscription services you have that you’re no longer using or have completely forgotten about. That’s found money.
- Bonuses and Tax Refunds: Everyone loves tax refund season and it’s no wonder: The average person eligible for a tax refund receives over $2,800. But instead of spending all of your tax refund extravagantly, consider spending a more modest amount on mad money and paying the rest forward to your credit card debt. Ditto on quarterly and other bonuses from work. These can significantly cut into your credit card debt.
Paying found money forward is an easy way to start making a dent in your credit card debt. What else can you do to cut credit card debt?
Cut Credit Card Debt: Snowball vs. Avalanche
Two of the most popular methods for how you can pay back your existing debts are the snowball method and the avalanche method. Both offer results for the steady and serious-minded consumer looking to cut credit card debt. Here’s how they work:
- Avalanche Method: Make at least the minimum payment on all cards. But pay off the card that carries the highest interest rate first, no matter the balance. Once you have paid off that card, move to the next highest interest rate card until they are all paid off.
- Snowball Method: Make at least the minimum payment on all cards. Pay off your credit cards from smallest balance to largest balance.
Which is right for you? In most cases, paying off your highest interest rate first may likely save you more money. Though in some cases, the difference might be negligible, making it a matter of personal preference. The right method may also be whichever one provides the stronger motivation.When you combine the above methods with interest-lowering solutions like consolidation loans or balance transfers to low- or no-interest cards, you’ll find yourself reducing your credit card debt a lot sooner than you think.