If you gained the weight of high credit card debt in 2022, take these steps to trim down those balances for better financial health.
Did you begin 2022 with vague ideas about how to pay off credit card debt hoping to escape the pressure and stress of monthly payments? Or maybe you had a few methods in mind but strayed from your resolve to get out debt and never carry high credit card balances again.
Whatever your reasons for entering 2023 with debt, don’t be discouraged. You can turn your debt situation around when you have a strategy and a goal to free yourself from the balances hanging over your head.
Read on for seven New Year’s Resolutions to get out of debt in 2023.
1. Consider a balance transfer card
If you’ve got thousands of dollars in credit card debt, you can buy some interest-free time to pay it off by applying for a balance transfer card with an introductory 0 percent APR. Look for a card that has an extended period of at least 12 to 18 months before the 0 percent APR ends.
That way, all your payments go directly toward your balance rather than straight to interest. Most balance transfer cards charge a 3 to 5 percent balance transfer fee on each transfer. Before transferring balances, make sure that the transfer fees don’t outweigh what you would otherwise pay in interest on the current cards.
2. Stop spending to keep up with others
When your friends and coworkers wear the latest fashions and wine and dine like they’re wealthy, you may feel pressure to keep up. If you can afford it, great. But if you have a ton of credit card debt, keeping up with others is causing you to live beyond your means.
So, rein yourself in and put all that money you’d typically charge on your credit card towards payments instead. Many of your friends and coworkers are also deep in debt due to living beyond their means. Just tell them you’re focused on paying off debt in 2023.
Who knows? You may even gain moral support from a couple of allies who also resolve to get each of their credit cards to a zero balance.
3. Put a halt to emotional spending
Do you shop online or hit the shopping center when you’re sad, angry, anxious or upset? If so, resolve to cut out emotional spending. When you’re upset, take a walk, go to the gym, or clean your house to feel better instead. Call a friend to talk you off the emotional shopping ledge.
4. Pay more than the minimum payment
Paying only the minimum payment on a high credit card balance can extend the final payoff for years and cost you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Budget in higher payments so you can hammer away at credit card debt. If you can’t afford higher payments, take on a second part-time job or a side hustle for extra cash until you pay off credit card debt.
Find out: New Year’s Resolutions to Pay Down Debt
5. Make extra payments each month
When you have an extra $25, $50, $100 or more, make an extra payment on your credit card. Do you receive an annual work bonus? Put it towards your credit card balance. Making even small multiple payments each month will quickly lower your balance.
6. Build a respectable emergency savings
Many financial experts advise that you should have emergency savings of at least six months worth of living expenses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start off with a small amount and build emergency savings with monthly or bi-monthly deposits.
Ask your employer to direct deposit a set amount to your savings account from each paycheck. That way, you’ll barely notice its absence. Before you know it, you’ll have $1,000 to cover small emergencies. Keep it up, and you may eventually have thousands of dollars, maybe even enough to meet that daunting goal of six months’ living expenses.
Find out: The Only Resolution That Matters
7. Save for the holidays all year long
Do you have high credit card balances due to holiday spending? Avoid the same scenario next holiday season by opening a holiday spending savings account and depositing a set amount each month.
For example, if you deposit only $50 a month, starting in January, you’ll have $600 to spend on gifts in December. Deposit $70 a month, and you’ll have $840 when the holidays roll around. Save $100 a month, and you’ll have a whopping $1,200 so you won’t have to rack up holiday shopping debt on a credit card.
Published by Debt.com, LLC