Credit cards are the American public’s best friend. I have 3 credit cards myself. It’s like a temporary loan that you don’t have to sign any paperwork for, or jump through any hoops to get. You just swipe. This is great for convenience, but is bad if you are not keeping track of you expenditures. This is what happens to most people. Pretty soon you are up to your eyeballs in debt and, by the way, a 15-30% interest rate making it impossible to ever pay off your card once you haven’t paid your balance and are just making “minimum payments.” I’m not judging. I have been there myself. I had $45,000 in credit card debt from a surgery that my 4 year old son had to have, and the birth of my daughter. So how do you get out of this? The same way I did.
Call Your Credit Card Company
Believe it or not, credit card companies do care about whether you can pay your bills or not. They are very much structured like a bank and banks make money on the amount of debt they own. The more debt they own, the most they make. However, if a substantial number of clients can’t make their payments, the bank isn’t making any money. The big difference with credit card companies is they will negotiate with you. You don’t have to give them a long drawn out story, just simply say, “I can’t afford to pay my bills. Can you help me?” This goes a long way. I was able to get two cards from the same company consolidated onto one and the interest rate went from 28% down to 7% for a calender year. This saved me over $500 a month in payments! What you need to do is pay the same amount you were paying before you were given your discount. This will pay down on the principle and the interest cutting the term you are paying at least in half if not more. A few weeks before the end of the negotiated rate term expires, call them back and ask for a rate extension. This will usually last 6 months and should be enough to get another big chunk paid off.
Apply for Balance Transfers
Many credit card companies offer balance transfers. You may not be able to transfer all of your balance, but as long as the interest rate is lower, it is worth the transfer. Just go on-line and type in “credit card balance transfers” into your search engine. Choose a card that has the lowest interest rates with the longest term. Do not apply on-line. Call the 800 number for the company. This will ensure you get an answer right away. Otherwise, you have to wait 30 days.
Call Your Loan Officer
Banks are used to dealing with people that are having trouble making ends meet. Call your loan officer and explain your situation to them and ask if there are any loan programs that you would qualify for. You may be able to take a loan out for half or less of the monthly payment you are currently paying. This would allow you to transfer your bad debt, to good debt and continue overpaying the amount you are used to paying. This would pay this amount off much faster and could take years off of your total debt payments.
Get a Side Job
A lot of people will say, “But I already work 40 hours a week.” Too bad. You have to get out of this mess and the only way to raise extra money so you are able to pay off your credit cards faster is by picking up an extra job. Work weekend for a few hours a day or after work part time. Think of it this way: You get a job working 2nd shift
as a night janitor at a school. All of the really nasty stuff has already been cleaned. You make $10 and hour and work 3 nights a week at 8 hours. That’s $240 a week or $12,000 a year! You may only need to do it for a year to pay off your debt. Use every dime you make from this second job to pay down your debt and you will be credit card debt free very quickly.
Cut Back on Your General Expenses
If you are the type of person that goes out for dinner 3 nights a week, buys lunch every day and buys coffee every morning, you need to change your habits to save some extra money. You can buy $50 worth of good, healthy food at the grocery store, that will last you 7 full days! Buy a coffee maker. Stop drinking soda. Don’t stop at the bar after work with your friends. These are all things that will save you significant amounts of money… and ultimately make you healthier as well.
Applying these principles will yield huge results in paying off your credit card debt quickly. If you take all of these measures and you still can’t seem to get ahead, call a lawyer for a free consultation and discuss bankruptcy options and if they are right for you and your situation.