Ways to Deal with Credit Card Debt

Managing Your Credit Card Debt: A Comprehensive Guide

Credit card debt is a burden many of us grapple with. This post explores comprehensive strategies on how to manage and ultimately eradicate your credit card debt.

Understanding The Credit Card Debt Issue

Credit card debt is a prevalent issue. More often than not, credit cards are a go-to solution for immediate financial needs, making it easy to accrue a significant amount of debt. Here are some common situations where credit card debt can spiral:

 

  • Sudden loss of income, triggering the need to cover expenses via credit card.
  • Unexpected life events such as health issues or marital problems leading to financial instability.
  • Regular use of credit card for routine purchases, leading to a large accumulated balance.

The main problem with credit card usage is the interest charged when full payment is not made by the due date. This increases the cost of your purchases over time.

Recognizing Credit Card Debt Red Flags

Identifying when your credit card debt is becoming a problem is a crucial step towards effective management. Here are some signs that your debt may be getting out of hand:

 

  • You find yourself continually carrying a balance on your card.
  • Cash advances on your credit card are a common occurrence.
  • You regularly rely on your credit card to get through the month.
  • Your balance keeps increasing, despite making payments.
  • You are only able to make the minimum payment, or slightly more.
  • You are close to reaching your credit limit.
  • You use payday loans or ‘fast cash’ instalment loans.
  • You feel stressed about your credit card balances.

Effective Strategies to Curb Credit Card Debt

If you’re wrestling with your credit card bills, there are a few strategies you can employ. However, if your payments are a struggle, seeking professional help may be a better option.

Prioritize Credit Card Payment

One approach is to list all your current debts and balances, then prioritize which to pay off first. This strategy involves making the minimum required payments on all your debts, then allocating extra money towards the debt you’ve chosen to pay off first. Once that’s done, you move on to the next debt.

Your choice may be based on:

 

  • Paying off the debt with the highest interest first, to reduce accumulating interest costs.
  • Paying off the debt with the lowest balance first, to create momentum and motivation (although this may cost more in interest over time).

Additional measures include:

 

  • Using a secured credit card in place of a regular one.
  • Implementing a cash-only spending rule.
  • Negotiating with your creditors for a lower interest rate.
  • Setting up a repayment schedule for debts owed to family or friends.
  • Closing credit accounts once they are paid off.

Understanding how your debt accumulated is important to prevent a recurrence. This could involve readjusting your budget, controlling your spending, or both.

Refinancing Credit Card Balances

Consolidation loans that combine multiple debts into a single monthly payment may help in managing your debt. This is useful if:

 

  • The loan interest rate is lower than your current debts.
  • The loan’s monthly payment is less than your current combined payments.
  • Most of your debts can be covered in the consolidation.
  • You can avoid incurring new debt.

Before you opt for loans, balance transfers, lines of credit, or other borrowing products, it’s crucial to understand their terms and repayment plans.

Applying the ‘Rule of 60’

Refinancing or self-directed repayment plans can be challenging due to qualification requirements, affordability of payments, motivation, budget disruptions, and accumulating interest. The ‘Rule of 60’ is a quick calculation that can help. It involves dividing your total non-mortgage debt by 60. If the resulting monthly payment is more than you can afford over the next five years (60 months), considering a Consumer Proposal might be a good debt solution.

Consumer Proposal as a Debt Solution

A Consumer Proposal consolidates all your debts, up to $250,000, and offers your creditors repayment of only the portion you can afford. Here’s how it works:

 

  • You offer a set monthly payment for up to five years to your Trustee, who then distributes these payments to your creditors.
  • Creditors agree to write off the unpaid balance. Total debts can often be reduced by up to 50-80%.
  • Almost every type of debt can be included in a Consumer Proposal
  • You also have the option to keep up financing arrangements for secured debts.
  • There is no borrowing, credit check, or co-signer required for a Consumer Proposal. Plus, creditors are not allowed to continue charging interest or any collection actions.
  • There are no added fees or hidden costs. You only pay what you’re offering to your creditors.
  • Monthly payments are usually lower than bank-based consolidation that requires full debt repayment with interest.

Professional Debt Advice

Acquiring accurate advice and debt services from a qualified professional is essential. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are federally regulated professionals who offer debt management advice and services to consumers. They help evaluate your financial situation, understand your needs, and explore ways to pay off your debt. This professional help can guide you to your financial goals while maintaining your dignity and respect.

Find Your Personal Debt Relief Solution

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to help. Get a free assessment of your options.

Discuss options to get out of debt with a trained & licensed debt relief professional.