Credit card debt costs U.S. consumers an average of $2,630 per year in interest1. If you pay interest on credit cards every month and are looking for a way out, it can be done.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to cut up your credit cards or close all your accounts. To help you get started, here are five habits of people with no credit card debt:
1. They monitor their spending
Tracking your spending could be one of the most effective ways to lower your credit card debt. In order for your account balances to decrease, it’s important to limit any new purchases on the account. In addition to a traditional pen and paper method, there are many free apps to help track your spending.
Tracking your spending could also provide other benefits to your finances. For example, by monitoring every dollar that goes in and out, you may be able to eliminate some unnecessary spending. You could use that extra money you save to pay more toward your credit card debt.
2. They have a plan
Financial goals can be hard to accomplish without a plan. By setting a plan in motion, you can hold yourself accountable for meeting certain milestones and staying on course. Financial plans can be especially useful for those who’ve never attempted to pay down debt or have struggled to in the past.
If you need help creating your plan for success, check out these articles:
- Quick Tips to Reduce Credit Card Debt
- 5 Easy Ways to Start Paying off Your Debt
- Why Isn't Your Balance Shrinking?
3. They pay more than the minimum monthly payment
Paying your minimum monthly payment on time will keep your payment history strong and help avoid late fees. However, if you’re aiming to eliminate credit card debt altogether, paying more than the minimum due could be a successful technique.
If your minimum payment is $50 and you pay $75, an additional $25 could go toward your principal balance. In addition to lowering your principal balance, it could also reduce the amount of interest you pay over time. Be sure to check with your credit card provider to make sure that the extra money you pay per month will be put toward your principal balance.
4. They have emergency funds
Emergency funds can be useful for many reasons, including credit card debt. While you may not use these funds to pay down your card balances, they can help prevent unexpected expenses from going on a credit account. Without this cash reserve on hand, you may have to add these costs to your total credit card debt.
In addition to an emergency fund, it may also be a smart financial move to save money for significant future expenses such as vacations and holidays. By saving up most or all of the money you’ll need for these occasions, you could lessen your need to rely on credit cards.
5. They educate themselves on personal finances
When it comes to personal finance, some people with no credit card debt are self-taught. There’s a variety of information available online and you may also be able to find a class or course in your area. Whichever method you choose, take advantage of all the information and resources available to you to help achieve your goal.
Here are some resources for you to consider:
- How to Tackle One Big Financial Goal
- Find a Budgeting Style that Works for You
- 6 Money Mistakes to Avoid
Take it one day at a time
Getting rid of credit card debt can be a long process. It can take planning, self-control and commitment for what you’re trying to achieve but success is possible. If you form new habits or improve old ones using the tips mentioned above, you can get yourself started on a good path to eliminating your credit card debt. Good luck!