There’s no easier temptation other than using a credit card. It is quick and painless. The problem comes in only when you have to pay it back. And yet the “ghost” of emergencies often strikes at this time. So you end up using two, three, or four credit cards within a very short period of time.
It’s the same script for many others out there. According to a recent study by Nerd Wallet, some $15,310 is debt among US households due to credit cards with only 35% clearing these debts in full at the end of the month. In fact, repaying is not even the problem; it is the interests charged.
Just like that, we’re trapped, with huge debts and accumulating interests. So what’s the way out?
First things first, take an honest look at the bigger picture. This is your financial status vs. needs. See if you can create an emergency pool in between. If possible, stash away a month’s worth of pay into the pool. This way, while you struggle repaying the credit cards, you can face the ghost.
The next thing you should be looking at is your credit report. You can always get one once every year from any of the credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian and or TransUnion. With your report, you will be able to know exactly what you owe the banks, and also detect errors with the same if any.
Keep the Cards
With your emergency pool and credit report in check, it’s time to formulate your payoff strategy. But before that you must not forget, to put away the credit cards so as not to incur any more debt. Hey, relax! Just keep somewhere safe, don’t destroy, you’ll need them once you are done paying.
More Debt First
If you’re one these people with more than one credit card, it’s important to check what you owe each card then determine the order of payment so that you don’t just do this randomly. The first card then you should refocus your attention to the one with the highest principal and interest rate.
It’s advisable to pay cards with smaller debts before the bigger one only if the debts owed due to them is so little you can actually knock off with a month’s pay or slightly more. Also, if there are introductory offers to any of the “smaller” cards. Once you’re done with making your order, put the debt in two categories; overspending over time and large spending. And sort them out in such a way that your budget clears the former while the emergency fund clears the large expenditures.