Paying after the holiday is over
The holidays are over and you have had a great time. The dreaded credit card statement has arrived and you wonder how you’re going to pay it off. Happy holiday memories vanish into thin air.
Unfortunately, there are no magic ways to wipe out debts – it just takes discipline.
Paying off credit card debt quickly requires more than paying off the minimum each month.
Most credit card providers require you to repay about two percent of the balance each month, although they are required to outline how much more you will pay if only the minimum is paid.
With interest rates averaging about 17 percent per annum, most of your payment will reduce a portion of the interest with only a small amount applied to the debt. It will take literally years to pay it off.
Quite simply, you must pay more than the minimum. Following are some ideas to help you do that.
Hide it before you spend it
Arrange for an automatic transfer from your pay to a separate account so you never see the money.
Use that account to pay off the debt/s. Alternatively, schedule an automatic deduction from your cash account to your credit card every pay day. If the money isn’t there, you can’t spend it.
Save the little bits
Put all the coins you get in change into a savings jar, preferably one you can’t open like the piggy bank of your childhood.
You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up and every time you add to your pot you’ll be reminded of your goal.
When it’s full, attribute the entire contents to your debt.
Everyone has stuff that is no longer needed – forgotten gym equipment, a bicycle gathering dust, an unused musical instrument, and so on.
Sell it online or have a big clean out and stage a garage sale.
Careful spending doesn’t need to impact on your lifestyle. Try these ideas: Check the supermarket catalogues and buy the brands on special; cook at home rather than eat at restaurants or buying take-away; lay-by birthday and Christmas gifts during the new year store sales, better still, give the gift of special time together at Christmas rather than buying lavish gifts; check out upmarket clothes recycling stores.
Every now and then a chunk of money comes your way – back-pay, a bonus or a tax refund. It’s alright to give yourself a treat, but put most of it towards your debt.
Ask for help
If all else fails, talk to your credit card provider about other ways to pay off the debt.
They want to be repaid and might be prepared to make special arrangements for you.
Then when your next holiday swings around, your credit card will be squeaky clean, ready for you to have fun without any debt guilt.