Paying off credit card debt is hard work, but it doesn’t have to feel tedious. The key is to remain diligent, keeping in mind that this debt is among the most costly you can have. These tricks can help you tackle your debt with less effort.
Transfer your balance
To bring your balance down faster, initiate a balance transfer, in which you move your debt to a credit card with an introductory 0 percent APR period. This can help your debt disappear faster, even if you keep making the same payments each month, because you are not racking up interest during the promotional period. You might be able to qualify for one of these no-interest offers if you have good credit.
Automate, automate, and then automate
Saving money is easiest when you don’t have to think about it. Automating your saving activity while paying off debt eases the process. Consider moving $50 from checking to a dedicated savings account with every paycheck. Make a credit card payment when the account hits $300. You could also consider doubling your minimum payment every cycle.
Try the snowball method
Your debt payoff goals might be big and ambitious, but sometimes it pays to start small. “Setting goals to pay off small accounts and celebrating those successes can help you go a long way in paying off your debt,” says Jim Triggs, senior vice president of counseling at Money Management International. Paying off debts from smallest to largest might give you the momentum you need to keep going.
Look for painless cuts
For Carrie Smith Nicholson of Denver, a change in diet made it easier to save money and pay down debt. After going through a divorce, she paid down $14,000 in 14 months by working three jobs and aggressively cutting costs. Of all the changes she made, not buying red meat at the grocery store was a relatively painless one. “I’m automatically drawn to more of a chicken- and fish-based diet anyway,” she said.
Pay weekly instead of monthly
Consider making credit card payments more frequently. It can help you keep an eye on expenses and avoid overspending, which can siphon money away from a healthy payment. “Instead of waiting once a month to pay that big bill, we found out it works better to pay it once a week,” said Nicholson. She also said she and her husband review their weekly spending and budget.