When you first start building or rebuilding credit one of the things that you may quickly notice is how easy it is to increase your credit card limits. This is largely in part due to having good payment habits as well as the credit card company’s ability to reward you for being such a model customer.
But as time goes on you will find that it’s just as easy to lose track of your available balances as it is to spend carelessly. Something as simple as an unexpected emergency expense—or impromptu vacation can derail things.
I found myself in the exact same situation before. Like everyone else, I was enjoying the ride. I indulged in extra shopping, spruced up my wardrobe, and invested money in a new fitness routine…and yes the results spoke for themselves.
However, once I looked at my credit card statements, I noticed that I was inching ever so closely to the limits on some of the cards. And cashing in too many rewards on my smaller cards.
I reviewed my budget. Again. Went over my spending habits and gave myself a timeline to get that credit card debt back in line!
Keep reading to see exactly what steps I took…
1.) Quit Spending
Yeah. This one pretty much goes without saying. I knew that if I wanted to get my finances under control I had to quit the things that were racking up debt in the first place. I looked at my closet and decided that I’d had enough clothing, shoes, and purses for any occasion…or meeting…or event…or vacation.
Ladies, it’s painful to give up shopping because we all need a little retail therapy at times. But your bank account will thank you later.
I also changed the way that I do fitness. I asked myself how many times a week I could really get to the studio where I work out and purchased a membership based on that schedule. I found some really nice recipes I could make from home —and purchased in bulk instead of my favorite smoothie shop. Those moves alone will cut out several hundred dollars a month.
2.) Recalculate Those Budgets
Once I got a grip on cutting out excess expenses, it was time to see what my money looked like. Looking over my expanded budget I saw places where I could reallocate my savings to pay off my credit card debt. As I poured over my various accounts, credit limits, and balances–I started thinking about what it would cost me in interest to hold onto the balances. With credit card interest rates averaging from 0% to 28% that’s definitely not a situation I wanted to be in.
3.) Create A Plan
Getting out of any type of debt requires a game plan. The first thing I did was create a payment schedule. It was easier for me to use the method which allowed me to pay down the highest amount –while focusing on the smaller amounts at the same time. Doing this helped me to add larger payments to the biggest debt. I then knocked out the smaller ones quicker by adding consistent payments. Before long my credit debt had shrunk and was completely gone at the end of 60 days.
I’ll be the first to tell you that sometimes paying off debt is hard. Especially when you have many other things going on. Or just properly funded your six-month emergency fund…or vacation fund. But, with some determination, discipline, focus, and a proper mindset—you’ll find that paying off debt is a milestone that can be reached.