Whether you are an individual or perhaps a business owner who used a credit card to get your business up and running, you know how convenient it is to have a card available for making purchases. Unfortunately, that convenience often leads to using the card more than you should, which in turn results in more debt than you can afford. To take full advantage of your credit card while at the same time keeping the debt at manageable levels, here are some tips you can use to control your credit card debt.
Pay Your Credit Card Bill On Time
If you want to see your credit card debt expand in a hurry, start paying your bill late month after month. If you do, you’ll soon get hit with exorbitant late fees, increased interest rates, and possibly credit-limit reductions. To avoid this and keep your debt low, always pay your credit card bill on time each month.
Rely on Responsible Spending
When you have that piece of plastic in your hand, it’s often way too easy to make one impulse buy after another. For example, if you are a business owner, you may decide on an impulse to buy that new computer with all the latest gadgets, although your existing computer works just fine. But whether it’s something for a business or your personal life, be responsible when using your credit card. As a general rule for business owners and individuals, if you are wanting to put something on your credit card that you won’t be able to pay off within three months, it’s best to put the card back in your pocket.
Develop a Payment Strategy
One of the best ways you can control credit card debt is to develop a payment strategy and stick with it each month. For some people, they choose the debt snowball strategy. If you use this approach, you’ll concentrate on paying off the smallest balances first, then work your way up to larger balances. If you opt for the debt avalanche strategy, you’ll do the opposite and instead pay off the larger debts first. Whichever you choose, it may be best to get advice from your CPA before moving forward, especially if you are a business owner.
Automate Your Payments
For many people, setting up automatic payments each month is a fantastic way to keep their credit card debt to a minimum. By doing this, you can be sure of avoiding late fees, interest penalties, and bad reports about you being sent to credit monitoring agencies. However, if you opt for this, it will be crucial that you make sure you always have enough money in your bank account to cover the payments. If you don’t, you’ll not only get hit with penalties from credit card companies, but also overdraft fees from your bank.
Create an Emergency Fund
Whether you are a business owner who has experienced tough times due to the pandemic or an individual who maybe lost a job or had your hours reduced, creating an emergency fund can give you the money you may need to keep making credit card payments until things improve. If you can, try to build up an emergency fund that will be equal to six months of your typical expenses. An easy way to do this is by direct deposit, since this money will go directly to your bank account.
Pay More Than the Minimum
If you only make the minimum monthly payments on your credit cards, chances are you will be making payments on your cards for decades. To get out of credit card debt at a much faster pace, try to pay as much as you can over the minimum payment each month. If you do, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly your credit card debt will disappear.
Consolidate Your Credit Card Debt
For many individuals and business owners, consolidating credit card debt through the use of a low-interest personal loan can work wonders. If you use this financial tool, you will get out of debt much faster, while only having one payment to make each month. Best of all, you’ll be paying much less interest along the way, meaning more of your hard-earned money will remain in your pocket. Prior to pursuing any loan, consult with your CPA to make sure you can manage this payment, and also verify the debt consolidation company is reputable.
Work with Your Creditors
If you have been a customer of a credit card company for years, are in good standing, make at least the minimum monthly payment on time each month, and have not gone over your credit limit, you may be able to contact your creditors and work out a better deal for yourself. Since the last thing any credit card company wants to do is lose a customer, chances are having a conversation with them will result in the company lowering your interest rates.
Limit the Number of Authorized Users
One of the biggest problems that often happens in many businesses is that too many people have access to the company credit card. As a result, before you know it, thousands of dollars have been charged to the card without your knowledge. If this sounds like your business, limit the number of authorized users for your company credit card. This also works well for individuals, especially if you have a spouse who is prone to impulse buying.
Have Only One or Two Cards
The more cards you have available to you, the more tempting it is to use them on a regular basis. If you believe this is a major contributor to your increasing credit card debt, try having only one or two cards at your disposal. By doing so, you’ll only be able to accumulate so much debt, making it more likely that you’ll be able to pay it off each month.
By meeting regularly with your CPA and heeding their advice as to how to control your credit card debt, you’ll find your financial life becomes much easier.