How to pay down your credit cards

Many of us have had difficulties some time in our lives with credit cards, it is so easy to buy stuff, charge it, and forget it. We buy things we really don’t need because we feel the power of the credit card. It is a piece of plastic after all, and with that piece of plastic we can buy an expensive watch, designer clothes, take our friends to dinner, or even use it to put a down payment on a car! Then we get more credit card offers, and start collecting them, and in no time our credit card balances have reached $10,000 or even $20,000 dollars. Some card have exorbitant interest rates, 20% or 30% in some cases, and the worst part is that credit card companies don’t want you to pay them down quickly, they only want you to pay a minimum, I have seen a $2000 credit card bill with a minimum payment of $25 per month, this barely pays for the interest, at that rate you can be lucky to pay it off after 5 or 6 years.

 

Here is how to pay down your credit cards quickly. This comes from personal experience, I am currently credit card debt free. Here’s how I did it. I had 6 credit cards, so I sorted them by the highest interest rate, not by balance, I paid as much as I could on the one with the highest interest rate, while only paying the minimum on the other cards making sure I am paying at least the interest incurred plus $5. Once I paid down that credit card, I moved to the next and paid as much as I could on that one, I did that until I paid down the other credit cards. It took a few months but it felt good to pay down a high interest credit card and close the account. More on that later..

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind: If you have an offer from a card company with 0% interest until a certain date, make sure you pay that down quickly as well. Most of these offers are very well studied to get as much interest from you as possible. Credit card companies know your financials very well, and they know when to send you these offers, do not fall for these traps. Not only will your credit score drop if you have more credit cards, but you will be tempted to charge more on the ones you just paid off. Just stick to paying down your existing cards as quickly as possible.

 

Should you close your credit card account? Yes! Absolutely! Your goal is to get out of debt. Do not worry too much about how your credit score is affected by closing your cards. Would you rather have a 720 FICO score and be $10,000 in debt, or a 650 FICO score and bet $0 in debt? Once you pay down your credit cards, you will start saving money and get out of the credit card trap. I currently have a single card which I have to pay off by the end of the month. I am happy, do not worry about credit cards, or loans. It feels great! I don’t owe anything to anyone! I am free!

Money saving advice for your teenager

Let’s face it, we are a consumer society which means that we buy products, use them, and dispose them, and then buy more of the same product, this is mostly due to advancing technologies and strong marketing campaigns. MoneySaving will show your teen how to save money. Teenagers are responsible for a big percentage of tech product purchases, and as a teenager you are being trained to become a long term consumer of products that you don’t necessarily need, and by the time you reach the age of 25 you would have accumulated at least two credit cards and are already in debt. A better way to manage your financial life is to start saving money at a young age, ask your Mom and Dad to open a savings account for you and contribute $100 per month into it, if you start at the age of 14 by the time you graduate from high school you would have saved $100 x 12 months x 4 years = $5,000, that is enough to buy yourself a very decent used car that will take you to college, and out with your friends. Being a saver is a positive thing, it may not be “cool”, but the long term benefits are way cooler. Here is some money saving advice and a few tips that will give your teen a financial head start:

  • Open a savings account for your child, and teach them to save money, no matter how little, this will train them that money should not all be spent.
  • Show them financial news and learning websites, and train them to shy away from shopping websites.
  • Make them understand that they can make money by selling products, and be the more profitable side of the shopping experience.
  • Give them weekly financial advice, this will help them as well as help you, and train them to give other financial advice.

 

MoneySaving would like to thank you for reading this article. Please feel free to post comments and feedback.