You’re carrying a heavy debt load on your shoulders, and you don’t think you can carry it any longer. You want to get rid of it and get rid of it as soon as possible. But you’re not sure how.
These are some strategies that can help you pay down your debt and prevent you from going right back into it again.
The Avalanche Method
The avalanche method is a debt repayment strategy that you can try if your debt is spread across multiple credit accounts. With this method, you will prioritize the account with the highest outstanding debt on it. You will make aggressive payments on this account, all while paying the minimum on your other credit accounts to avoid late penalties. The goal is to put all of your attention on this large amount of debt until it’s no longer a problem. Once that account is taken care of, you can move on to the next highest debt load and repeat the steps.
The Snowball Method
The snowball method is the opposite of the avalanche method. In this method, you will aggressively pay down the account with the smallest outstanding balance on it, all while paying the minimum for the other credit accounts. Once that account is paid off, you can move on to the next smallest debt load and repeat the steps.
Balance Transfer Card
One of the things that makes paying down credit debt challenging is compound interest — this is especially true for credit cards, which typically come with interest rates above 20%. The compound interest will force your outstanding balances to grow, which will make them harder and harder to pay down over time.
So, if you want to pay down your debt, you can look into a balance transfer card. Balance transfer cards allow you to transfer your debt load onto a card that has no interest rate for an introductory period. That introductory period tends to be 12 months. In that time, you will have the rare opportunity to pay down your balance without the influence of compounding interest. This could make it much easier to whittle down your debt load.
Another option you could consider is consolidation. Essentially, you will use a larger loan to pay down the smaller loans in order to streamline your repayments and make debt management a little easier to tackle. Ideally, you should do this with a loan that has a lower interest rate than the loans currently contributing to your debt load. Otherwise, this plan could backfire.
For example, homeowners could use a home equity loan or home equity line of credit to consolidate their debt. Both of these borrowing options tend to come with lower interest rates because they are secured loans. However, they do come with some serious risks. Since the loans use your house as collateral, defaulting on the loans could lead you to lose your home. That’s a risk that you don’t want to take lightly.
How Can You Stop Yourself from Jumping into Debt Again?
Sometimes, you feel like you have no choice but to borrow funds to get by. If you have an urgent expense that’s outside of your budget, you can’t ignore it until you save up enough to pay it off. You have to deal with the expense right away.
In that circumstance, you might feel compelled to put the urgent expense onto your credit card. Or you might go to a website like CreditFresh to apply for a line of credit there. With an approved line of credit, you could request a withdrawal within your credit limit. This withdrawal could help you cover the urgent expense in a short amount of time. Whether you use a credit card or line of credit, you will be responsible for repaying what you borrowed. You’ll have to follow regular billing cycles to do this.
You can avoid borrowing funds when you have an emergency fund. With an emergency fund, you can use personal savings to cover urgent expenses without having to take on any debt. So, if you don’t have an emergency fund yet, start building one.
High Balance Alerts
You can set up high balance alerts through your mobile banking app or online account. These alerts will warn you when your credit account balance is creeping close to the limit. This simple warning could remind you to be more cautious with your spending habits.
Living without a budget is going to make it very easy to slide back down into a debt trap. A sensible budget will help you figure out just how much you can afford to spend every single month without running up your credit card.
Starting a budget can be simple. Download one of the top budgeting apps on your smartphone or computer and fill out the expense categories. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect on the first try. You can adjust these spending guidelines as you go.
You don’t have to carry this heavy debt load anymore. And if you follow these tips, you can make sure that you never carry it again!