If you have credit card debt, know that you are not alone. The average household has over $15,000 in credit card debt and the average interest rate is over 16% according to Bankrate.
If you are paying only the minimum payment, you’ll likely be carrying that debt for over twenty years. If that plan doesn’t sound good to you, there are ways you can get rid of your credit card debt fast.
My wife Kim and I paid off $52,000 in debt in just eighteen months. It wasn’t always easy. I worked second jobs. My wife and I sold tons of stuff. We downsized our cars in order to get rid of car payments. But everything we sacrificed was worth the result.
We’re now consumer debt free and well on our way to having our mortgage paid off too.
There’s something about being debt free that changes your outlook on life. My wife and I have no stress about money now. We have an emergency fund and plenty of extra cash to travel and do fun stuff with. Life without consumer debt is just….better.
If that sounds like a life you want to live then here are three things you can do to help pay off your credit card debt really fast. But first, you need to find out “why” you want to be debt free.
Any plan that you make will be much easier if you know “why” you’re doing it. So before we get to the steps you need to take to pay your debt off early, ask yourself one question:
Why do I want to be debt free?
Everyone’s answer to that question will vary. Maybe you’re sick and tired of the credit card balances hanging over your head. Maybe the debt is putting stress on your marriage. Or maybe the monthly payments are keeping you tied to a job you hate.
Once you know the reasons why being debt free is important to you, write them down and post them somewhere where you’ll see them every day. Keeping your why’s at the forefront of your mind will keep you motivated when you want to give up. After you’ve figured out why being debt free matters to you, you can move on to the steps that will help you pay off your debt faster.
Use the Debt Snowball
This is the method we used to pay off our in debt quickly. We listed our debts in order from smallest to largest and then listed the minimum payments alongside them. We focused on paying off the smallest debt first while we made minimum payments on everything else. Any extra money we got throughout the month from working extra hours or selling stuff would go toward that smallest debt.
When that debt was paid off, we’d put all extra money toward the next smallest debt, and so on. From a mathematical standpoint, it might save you more money to pay off the highest interest cards first, but I found it incredibly motivating to see each debt get paid off, and that happened quicker for us by using the debt snowball.
Sample Debt Snowball form
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Refinance High-Interest Debt
Another thing you can do is to look at refinancing higher interest credit cards so that you can get a lower interest rate. There are companies like Sofi who specialize in refinancing higher balance credit cards so that you don’t have to pay the ridiculous interest rates that credit cards tend to have. Sofi has interest rates as low as 6.574% fixed with AutoPay.
If your have bad credit or don’t think you would get approve with SoFi, you can also check out a company called Credible. They are a little more flexible on who they approve but you may pay a slightly higher interest rate. Regardless, it will be a lot less than you are paying now.
A third option to consider to lower your interest rate and pay off credit card debt is a balance transfer. This can be especially helpful if you can find a credit card with a 0% APR on balance transfers specifically. Just make sure you pay off the balance before the introductory period ends, when the 0% APR will expire. Rates after this man increase dramatically.
The more you can lower your interest rates on the money you owe, the faster you’ll be able to pay those balances off.
Make Extra Money with a Side Hustle
This was another strategy we used to eliminate our debt so quickly. I worked multiple side hustles the whole time we were paying off our debt. I delivered pizzas. I sold stuff. I did some freelance writing. There are hundreds of side hustles that you can do that will help you bring in extra cash to get that debt paid off fast.
You can work a second job, put in overtime hours at work, start a small business such as a landscaping business or do freelance work in an area that you are knowledgeable in.
To get ideas for side hustles, start by making a list of what you like to do and what you’re good at doing. Then think of ways you can use those talents to make money. For instance, if you are great at math and like kids, you could be a math tutor on nights and weekends. You can shovel snow in the winter or mow lawns in the summer.
If you’re good at technical stuff, you can work online designing websites for people. Or be a brand ambassador in grocery stores. And since all of the money you earn through side hustles will be money you wouldn’t normally have, you can put it all toward debt and kick those balances to the curb in no time.
The faster you get your credit card debt paid off, the faster you can focus on your next financial goal of paying off your mortgage, saving to buy a house or investing money so that you can retire early. Set your plan in action and see how fast you can reach your goal of becoming debt free.
Do you have a goal of being debt free? How fast do you think you can get your credit card debt paid off?