The first thing you should understand is that debt has a ripple effect across your entire financial life, including your credit scores.
It may seem that you can borrow as much money as you’d like. However, it doesn’t. You can borrow money up to a predetermined credit limit. In this case, the interest will not remain the same. That is why you may have to pay more than you were initially supposed to in the end. Your monthly payment may vary on revolving credit cards and loans depending upon how much you currently owe.
Installment debt comes from mortgages, car loans, student loans, and personal loans. In most cases, the amount of money you borrow is fixed at the beginning. The same can be said about the interest rate. Also, after taking a loan, the bank or whoever lends money to you will set the fixed size of the monthly payments. However, these amounts may vary if one of the sides breaks the initial agreement and misbehaves.
So, how should you avoid changes in those indicators? Never postpone your payments. If you skip a payment for any reason, the lender can report it to the credit bureaus, and your financial history and reputation will be damaged. It is hard to recover your credibility after things like that. You may also have to pay late fees, which can be burdensome nonetheless.
Aside from your payment history, the way each type of debt affects your credit is quite different. With installment debt, like student loans and mortgages, having a high balance doesn’t have a big impact on your credit.
But revolving debt is another matter. If you carry high balances compared to your credit limits on your credit cards from month to month, it will likely have a negative effect on your credit scores — especially if you’re doing it with multiple cards.
Tips for Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt
Assess the amount you owe
Estimate the number of your credit cards. Then, calculate the total debt to find how much you owe in general so that it would not be a surprise to you one day. Having a clear understanding of the numbers will empower you to make a payoff plan that actually works and avoid being late with your obligations.
Many people may be unsure how to calculate their loans. They may have too many cards or bank accounts. In this case, the first thing to start is to visualize what you owe in various payment systems and to different people. Experts recommend linking all your credit cards to get the entire picture of your debt landscape.
Learn the details
After you’ve determined the total amount you owe, it’s time to dig a little deeper and read the fine print. Are you aware of:
- due date for each payment
- minimum monthly payment
- interest rate
It’s important to know the details because they will ultimately help you determine the best payoff plan.
Decide on a minimum monthly payment. It might be enough to support your financial health at an appropriate level. Usually, there is no need to estimate that value on your own as most banks determine the lowest obligatory payment by calculating 1 percent of the total balance owed.
Celebrate small wins
It’s important to celebrate your payoff victories to keep your motivation high. Let's say you paid off the first $1000. Great! Treat yourself!
Set milestones within your larger payoff plan. Once you achieve one, make something for yourself. What about ice cream? :)
Plan a budget for such things to stay on track. Especially if you follow a zero-based budgeting strategy.
Stop Creating Debt
You’ll never get out of debt if you’re continually adding to your balances. Stop using your credit cards, but don't close the accounts because that will hurt your credit score.
Stop getting loans so you don't have the ability to create additional debt. New credit increases the payments you have to make, which creates additional strain on your monthly income. It’s tough to live without credit cards, but if you’re serious about getting out of debt - find a way to live on your income.
Ask Your Creditors for a Lower Interest Rate
A high-interest rate makes it harder to pay off the debts because more of your monthly payment goes toward interest charges. So, what is the way to get rid of the debt quicker and hassle-free? One way is to reduce your interest rate.
A good credit score and positive payment history give you more leverage toward getting a lower interest rate. If your credit card issuer won’t budge, consider transferring your balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate. Taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer is even better.
Refinance some credit cards with personal loans
For anyone who finds themselves on the wrong end of credit card debt, personal loans can be a lifesaver. If your credit score is at least above average (650 or higher), you may be able to get a personal loan of up to $35,000 at a lower APR than your credit cards.
This is how you can save money on interest.