According to an estimate recently released by NerdWallet.com, the average American has around $7,000 in credit card debt.1 Many households of course are carrying much higher balances. The good news: Paying your way out of credit card debt may not be as difficult as you think. You’ve probably heard and read the following information before, but if you’re still strapped with credit card debt, you didn’t act on it. Take action now!
Create a budget — Use an online service like Mint.com or list your monthly income and expenses on a spreadsheet. Review your expenses to find areas where you can cut costs and expenditures.
Reduce your monthly bills — Some of your regular monthly expenses are discretionary and can be cut or reduced. For instance, can you get by with a cheaper data plan for your smartphone? Do you really need all those TV channels and premium movie services?
Cut down on unnecessary purchases — Track your expenditures for a week and then cut back “minor,” everyday purchases such as fast food, coffees and so on.
Rethink entertainment — Note how often you go out to dinner, bars, movies, concerts, etc. Work to eliminate at least one expensive entertainment outing per month.
Reward yourself along the way — The only way to get the job done is to keep at it and stay motivated. Once you start feeling deprived or punished, you’re more likely to throw in the towel. So reward yourself: Create goals and set milestones by which to measure your progress. For example, if your goal is to reduce your credit card debt from $8,000 to $6,000 in two months, give yourself a reward — just keep it within reason. Don’t book a trip to Paris or Rome that will get you right back in debt.
Make a commitment now! Be smarter about your future — make a commitment now to get out of debt. It may be the most important step you can take toward building a more secure future. Start now!