Monday, May 9, 2011

Paying off the plastic: How I got out of credit card debt

Last year, I owed about $2,000 in credit card debt.
Today, I am debt free because I finally paid the balance off of the card earlier this month.
That means that I am extremely blessed (especially in the aftermath of The Great Recession) to say that I have no major credit card debt.
This is exciting because getting out of debt has been one of my top financial goals for the past couple of years.
Being 100 percent debt free is truly a blessing that I am very, very thankful for.
It has allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief, start saving the way I want and need to, look into my investing options and give a little bit more.
Everyone’s financial situation and responsibilities are different, but I wanted to give you several tips on how I paid off the plastic:

1. Instead of paying the minimum balance which was usually about $10, I put anywhere from $250 to $300 a month on the balance. I’ve always felt like I’d pay off the credit card in the next century if I paid the minimum balance. There’s something not right about that, and the credit card companies know this. That’s why they do it. I guess they need to make their money (interest) too.

2. If I had extra money left over from my spending budget, I applied it towards my credit card payment instead of putting it into my savings account. For example, if I had an extra $100 or $150 leftover, I’d make a $400 or $450 payment instead of a $250 or $300 one. That went a LOOOOOONG way in bringing down my balance.

3. I was DETERMINED to pay off the bill. Determination is so underrated but when I put my mind to something, I DO it. If there was something I wanted, I didn’t use my credit card to purchase it because I knew that that the purchase would make it a few dollars harder for me to pay down my debt. I was determined to see $00.00 on my credit card statements. Now I see it and my wallet thanks me for it.

4. I evaluated my needs and wants. I’d ask myself, if I really needed another pair of shoes or another bag? Like some women, I can be an emotional shopper and I often emotionally charged items to my credit card because I figured I could pay it off later. Ultimately, I had to stop using my credit card to buy things that I didn’t need and to stop the unhealthy action emotionally shopping.

5. Some people put their credit card in the freezer or cut it in half. I just stopped carrying the credit card around with me. That helped me to really budget when going out or shopping because I couldn’t just swipe my plastic. I was forced to use cash or my debit card and the payoffs were priceless. Pun intended.

Now, I’m no Suzi Orman and don’t pretend to be but these easy, free and resourceful tips all helped to get me out of debt and onto more solid financial ground.
How are you working to get out of debt? What tips do you have to share about reducing your debt load or saving money?

1 comment:

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