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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
credit wisely

3 Steps to Take Control of Your Credit Card Debt

Here we are in January and the bills have started to arrive. Oops – who knew the fun we had in December would add up to be quite so much! Well, now is a good time to assess our financial situation and take steps to improve it. For example, if you are carrying a balance on your credit cards from one month to the next, set a goal for paying the balance down. This can be challenging but these three steps can help you.

1) Set aside your credit cards and stop using them. Decide how long you plan to do this – perhaps just a month or maybe even longer. Do you need help resisting the urge to use credit card? Here are some tricks that have helped others:

  • Freeze your credit cards. Literally put them in a container with water and freeze them! Then when you on impulse you want to use them, you will be forced to stop and think about it while your credit card thaws out!
  • Do you feel like you need your credit card with you in case of an emergency? Do something to make yourself pause when you reach for the credit card. For example, put them in their own zippered container in your purse so it takes more thought to use.
  • Or, put a sticky note on the front of your card that says something like "wait – do I really want to make this purchase and add to my credit card balance?" The picture with this blog shows a simple card with questions that can be used to slow down credit card spending.

2) Make more than the minimum payment. Don't let the credit card companies decide how little you will pay each month – it's to their advantage for you to continue carrying a credit card balance. Instead decide how much you can afford and pay MORE than the minimum balance so that you will have less interest charges over time. Remember, from my May blog post, research has shown that people who use the stated minimum balance on their bill as a guide pay LESS than they would otherwise.

3) Use the strategy of Power Pay to pay down several debts. Essentially once you have paid off one credit card, roll-over the money you had been paying to that company to another debt so that you can pay the second debt more quickly. The online calculator at is a wonderful tool to help you set-up a plan for power paying your debt.

What strategies have worked for you to pay down your credit card debt? Share your tips by clicking on my name below and I'll post them to this blog. Let's share our creative ideas!!

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