Some Thoughts on Reducing Your Credit Card Debt

by : Donald Saunders

Getting yourself into debt is the easiest thing in the world but, unfortunately, getting yourself out of debt can be a very long and hard road to travel. For many people today it is credit cards which are the root of their debt problem and clearing credit card debt is something which takes a little bit of planning and a lot of discipline.

The first thing you need to do is to start by reducing your expenditure on your credit cards, and preferably to stop using your cards altogether. Credit cards are all too easy to use and the first trick is to leave your credit cards at home when you go shopping and to just take enough cash with you to cover your needs.

Now you are still going to come across things that you want to buy and which you would have bought had you had your credit card with you, but the mere fact that you are going to have to go back home and get your credit card to buy something will make you think twice about it and, hopefully, also get you into the habit of considering whether you really need things. One of the biggest problems with credit cards is that they allow you to make impulse buys and nine times out of ten these purchases are for things which you could well do without.

But reigning in your expenditure is only one side of the equation because you still have to do something to clear your existing debt. Of course cutting down on your expenditure will help because you will now have more money available and should be able to start paying off more of your credit card debt each month. But this may still leave you looking at a considerable time period before your cards are clear.

Another effective way to reduce your credit card debt might be credit card debt consolidation which involves taking your present credit card debts and putting them all onto a single card with a lower interest charge. This does not of course clear any of your debt but it does slow down the rate at which your debt grows each month as interest is added to your account and so gives you a better chance to catch up with the problem. Today there is tremendous competition among the credit card companies and you will find all sorts of incentives being offered to consolidate existing card debt, including such things as an interest holiday with 0% APR being applied to your new card for the first three or six months. As with any financial offer you do however have to read the small print very carefully and make sure that you know exactly what sort of contract you are entering into. If you do not read the small print with care you could find yourself jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

One alternative to credit card debt consolidation is to simply speak to your own credit card company and ask them if they will lower the interest rate on your current card. You might be surprised to find that with so many people moving their accounts to alternative providers these days many credit card companies will accommodate you in order to keep your business.

There is unfortunately no simple answer to clearing credit cards debts and, no matter how you try to dress it up, it comes down to a mixture of disciplining yourself into reducing your expenditure and paying off as much of your balance as you can afford each month.