Credit cards can be an incredible asset if they are paid off on time.
They are great for purchasing higher priced items when you do not have the cash in your wallet or the funds in your checking.
They are a great way to build your credit so that one day should you choose to take out a loan for a house or get credit approved for an apartment you are prepared.
However, credit cards can become dangerous when you borrow more than you can pay back.
A common option that people choose is consolidating their debt with a consolidation loan, which may seem like a good idea at the time.
However, the danger of this is when you consolidate your debt onto one loan, it frees up your other credit cards with a higher interest rate to be used again.
This could leave you in into deeper debt if you aren’t careful and in a place where you need to settle your debts or even file bankruptcy.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt
According to an October 2018 survey conducted by ValuePenguin, the median credit card debt per American household is $2,300 whereas the average overall debt is $5,700.
As you can see, credit card debt is a regular occurrence in the United States.
If you do find yourself in credit card debt, it is essential to do something about it.
If you choose to do nothing, interest will continue to accrue and you will end up paying far more than you originally borrowed.
For example: if you owe $5,000 on a credit card, with an interest rate of 17% and it takes you 300 months to pay off your card-assuming you do not make any other purchases- will end up paying $4030.56 just in interest charges.
That is almost equivalent to the total expense of your initially borrowed amount.
It is also important not to close any of your credit cards in hopes of escaping your debt.
Doing this could potentially tank your overall credit score.
There are two reasons for this:
The first reason is that about 30% of your overall credit score is based on your credit utilization and how much you have available of your total limit.
This is ratio is sometimes called the debt-to-credit-ratio.
So, if you have a $10,000 of credit available and you have only used $2,000 of your debt-to-credit-ratio is only 20% which is very good.
If you close two of your cards, your credit limit will drop to $4000, and now you have a 50% debt-to-credit-ratio which would hurt your score.
The second reason it is not a good idea to close your credit cards is that 15% of your credit score is based on the length of your credit history.
If you close a credit card after having it for 12 years, your credit history and debt-to-credit-ratio will result in double the damage to your credit score.
Paying off credit debt does not have to be stressful. It is doable; there are a lot of programs and companies that exist to help you settle your debt.
Here are some other common ways that people can pay of there credit card debt:
The Snowball Method
Financial expert Dave Ramsey coined the term snowball method.
He suggests paying off your credit cards from the lowest balance down to the one with the highest balance.
As you pay off the lowest balance, you will continue to pay the minimums on your other cards.
Ramsey calls this the snowball method because as you pay off each debt, you gain more motivation and momentum to pay off the next card on your list-just like a snowball rolling downhill.
Here is an example of how this method works.
Suppose you have the following debts:
$15,000 student loan with a monthly payment of $173
$10,000 car loan with a monthly fee of $150
$2,500 medical bill from a recent leg injury with a $50 monthly payment
$900 credit card debt with a minimum monthly payment of $27
If you could find an extra $500 a month by maybe taking a second job, your credit card debt could be paid off within two months time or a little more.
Then after paying the card debt, you would have an additional $500 a month that you could throw at the medical bill.
With the medical bill, you could pay $527 each month (the $500 of extra income plus the $27 minimum payment you are making before).
At this rate, your medical bill would be paid off in about five months.
Following the medical bill, you would start paying off the car loan.
Each month you would be able to pay $727 towards your car debt (500 (additional income) + $27 (what you were paying monthly for the credit card debt) + $50 (what you were paying monthly for the medical bill) + $150 (what you are paying monthly for the car loan).
This means in about 14 months; you can say goodbye to this debt.
Finally, you would d be able to tackle the student loan in nearly a year and a half, paying $900 a month.
If you add it all up, you will see that thanks to your hard work, you were able to pay off almost $30,000 in debt in just under three years.
Debt Stacking is another method for paying off debt and is the exact opposite of the snowball method.
This method requires you to order your debts from the highest interest rate to the lowest.
You do everything you can to pay off the card with the highest interest rate.
The logic behind this method is that it saves you the most money in the long run.
However, this method also takes an extreme amount of discipline.
Chipping away at a high-interest debt may feel like it takes forever to pay off especially if it has a high balance.
While credit cards can be a wonderful asset, if misused they can become a serious headache.
Credit cards are a wonderful option when you need just a little more than you have in your pocket to make a purchase.
Credit cards can become dangerous when you take out more credit than you can pay back on time.
Regardless of what method you choose, it is important to remember that paying off your debt does not have to be as burdensome as it is often portrayed to be.
There are solutions, and with a bit of dedication and persistence, your debt can disappear in just a few years.
Schedule a free consultation today for a risk-free debt assessment. The only thing you have to lose is your debt.
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