Cut Your Debt In Half... In A Year

We were always together. Night after night, day after day— when I dozed off that’s what I think about. When I got my first card, I noticed it was valid for three years. The first year, I spent uncontrollably; I wanted to charge any and everything. The second year I felt the pangs of my freshman-esque spending habits – I fell deeply into debt— $34,017.48 to be exact.

Hello, my name is ______, and I’m a shop-a-holic, and my method of destruction is the almighty credit card. It’s like I’m the gun and my credit card is the bullet, triggered by sales and the most cutting-edge items out there, while leaving behind a trail of receipts and dwindling bank account statements.

I have a problem.

But they say admitting it is the first step.  I am due for a new credit card next year, and I have dedicated this final year to cutting my debt in half. While there is no therapy for the swipe-happy credit card consumer, exercising small doses of discipline can have promising results. By following a few tips from my financial advisor, I have gone from a helpless to hopeful about my credit card spending habits and my revolving debt. 

Using a credit card incorrectly can lead to overspending. Overspending then leads to substantial debt. And once you’re deep in debt it can be hard to get out. I learned this the hard way. Here are some ways to cut your debt in half:

Find out how much you owe. This is the first step to take. You can find out exactly how much you owe by calculating your credit card debt. This can be found on your credit card statement or on your credit report. 

Plan ahead. Set up a personal holiday that celebrates your freedom from debt. Go about planning this holiday by adhering to a plan that you have set up that monitors your total debt, extra cash, and allotted time to debt management. For example, if you owe $4,000 in debt, and you plan to put aside $200 specifically for debt reduction, you can be free of your debt in approximately two years. Watch out for interest, as that can add extra time to your payment plan.

Keep it Real. Make sure you have a realistic plan, and you enlist the help and support of others, because you can’t make the change alone. You will have to sacrifice excess expenses such as dining out, extravagant vacations and costly shopping trips. Once you get out of debt, use that extra money you have lying around to do something special for yourself and those who helped you get out of debt. For example, if you put aside id="mce_marker",000 monthly to reduce your debt. After you erase your debt, and provided that you adhere to the same money saving schedule, you can have an extra $6,000 to yourself.

Be Mindful of Credit Card Use. Your credit card is the one that got you in this position in the first place. Don’t get stuck in a revolving circle of acquiring substantial amounts of debt and struggling to pay it off. Be mindful of credit card usage and stick to cash and debit until you garner some financial discipline. If you’re looking to consolidate debt into one spot, a good 0 balance transfer credit card can help you. By opening one up, you can put all your debt into one spot and pay it off at a very low interest rate. The only thing is that these credit cards offer these low APR rates for a year or less, if you get caught with the balance you might be subject to APR’s over 20%.

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