During the holiday season, it’s hard not to get carried away buying gifts for family, friends, and even co-workers. But now that the holidays are over, you might find yourself in a sleighful of holiday credit card debt on top of the debt you were already dealing with. Here are a few ways you can pay off holiday debt fast.
1. Make more than minimum payments
When you only make minimum payments, you’re just chipping away at a bigger mountain of debt that could take years to pay off and cost you thousands in interest. To avoid paying all that interest, you need to make more than minimum payments. Here are two strategies that could help you pay off your debt fast and save more in the long run
With the Avalanche method, you use any extra cash you have each month to pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first.
Keep making the same minimum payments on your other cards while you focus on the highest interest card. After paying it off, simply move on to the next highest interest card and repeat the process. This way, you’ll pay more of what you actually owe instead of just keeping up with interest payments.
The Snowball method focuses on paying off the credit card with the lowest debt amount first. You can pay off individual cards faster by eliminating smaller payments, which leaves you with fewer accounts to worry about. After you’ve paid off the card with the lowest debt amount, move on to the next and work your way up.
Depending on how many cards you’re dealing with, and how much extra cash you’re able to pay, it could take months or years to pay off credit card debt this way. If you’ve taken on more than a couple thousand in credit card debt or can’t afford to pay more than the minimum, you might want to think about other ways of getting out of debt, like debt consolidation.
2. Consolidate your debt
Debt consolidation means combining all your high-interest debt into a single account with a lower interest rate. If you owe $5,000 or more in holiday debt, you may want to consider a debt consolidation loan or a balance transfer card. Keep in mind, though, that both these methods require a good credit score.
If you’re approved for a debt consolidation loan and qualify for a lower rate than you’re currently paying on your credit cards, you could save on interest and get out of debt sooner
If you don’t make your consolidation loan payments on time, however, you could end up in the same position you were to begin with.
Many credit card companies offer a balance transfer card with a very low interest rate for a limited period. If you can pay the balance before the rate goes up, this could be a good solution for you. But if you fall behind, you’ll end up paying fees on top of a higher interest rate.
A balance transfer card is a good solution to credit card debt if you can pay it off by the time the promotional rate expires. Debt consolidation loans can help you manage your payments into one monthly sum until you pay off the debt, which could take several months or years.
3. Enroll in a debt relief program
If on top of your holiday debt, you’re dealing with a hardship that is making it difficult to even keep up with monthly minimum payments, you’re probably feeling especially overwhelmed after the new year. If you’re stuck with $7,500 or more in credit card debt, a debt relief program may be your best option. Fortunately, good credit is not required to qualify for one of these programs.
Debt relief programs are meant for larger amounts of debt, so if you’re saddled with a lot of post-holiday credit card debt, this may be your best solution. When you enroll in a debt relief program like Freedom Debt Relief, we will negotiate with credit card companies on your behalf to help reduce the amount you owe. Using this method, you could end up paying significantly less money and be debt-free much faster than you would if you were making minimum payments. You can learn more about how debt relief programs work.
If your debt is piling up and you need help figuring out which debt relief option is right for you, Certified Debt Consultants at Freedom Debt Relief could help. We’ll review your situation, discuss your options, and find the right solution for you. To find out if we could help you find a solution for your post-holiday credit card debt, request your free debt evaluation today.