It's Credit Card Reduction Day!
, by Rob Kaufman
March 21, 2020 is Credit Card Reduction Day. For those who have credit card debt, it might not seem like a "happy" day. However, it can be if you realize it's a day that can be the start of a whole new debt-free year.
Credit Card Reduction Day reminds us that credit card usage is not only a leading form of payment, but it's also something that should be taken seriously. Since many of us use credit cards instead of cash, charges can add up faster than we realize. If you use cash, you can always see the amount you have left. When you use credit, it's difficult to keep track of how much you've actually spent constantly.
Credit Card Reduction Day can help make us look at our credit card practices and figure out ways to lessen that usage and also pay down our debt.
4 Credit Card Reduction Day tips
Since it is such an important day and a great time to start eliminating your credit card debt, we're providing a few tips to help you get started.
Hide your cards
In order to eliminate credit card debt, you first have to reduce the usage of your credit cards.
Think about it, if you're working to lower your debt but adding to your balances every month, is it really possible to reach a zero balance? No. So use cash or a debit card instead of a credit card so you won't backslide as you progress on your payoff plan.
Transfer your balance
Think about transferring your credit card debt onto a single card with a zero percent interest introductory rate. This not only helps you keep all your debt in one place (for easier tracking), it also gives you a specified period of paying zero interest so you can pay off as much as you can.
A serious point to remember is that you'll want to pay off as much outstanding debt as possible during the zero percent interest period. Once that time is up, you'll be accruing interest again, so be prepared with a payoff plan before you get that zero percent interest card.
Choose your payoff plan: Snowball or Avalanche
If you want your balances to disappear completely, the snowball method may be best for you. Each month, pay the minimum on every card balance while at the same time putting your extra cash toward the lowest balance. Once that is paid off, use the money you would've used for that balance and pay the next highest balance.
If you want to minimize the total interest you'll pay, the avalanche method might be your best bet. Once you know the interest rate for each balance, make the minimum payment on all balances but put any extra money towards the balance with the highest interest. Once that balance is eliminated, start paying more money on the balance with the next highest interest until all your debt has disappeared.
Budget. Budget. Budget.
First, it's crucial to set up an actual budget. Know exactly how much is coming in each month (income) and how much is going out (expenses), so you'll have a better idea of where your money is going.
Then start to budget. Evaluate monthly expenses. Can you negotiate your utility bills? Reduce your grocery spending? Enjoy fewer channels on your cable box? Give up one of those subscription services? What about restaurant and takeout purchases? Clothes? Vacations? Can you cut down a bit on these things in order to pay more towards your debt? Make a list and see where you can cut your spending.
Although Credit Card Reduction Day is the perfect time to start reducing your debt, it's essential to work on keeping your debt to a minimum every single day. Too much debt increases your anxiety level while decreasing your credit score - two things that make life just that much more stressful.
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