There are different reasons why people end up with credit card debt. Maybe you encountered a series of surprise home repairs you had no choice but to charge. Or maybe your debt is the result of medical bills.
Either way, if it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with your credit card bills, it’s time to take action and break that cycle. Here’s how.
1. Boost your income with a second job
Once you rack up a credit card balance, it can be hard to get out of that hole. That’s because the longer you carry a balance, the more interest you’ll accrue. Eventually, your minimum payments could get so high that you’re unable to keep up with them.
A good way to bust out of that cycle is to give your earnings a boost. That way, you’ll be able to pay off your debt faster and prevent interest from adding up. A great way to increase your income is to get a side hustle.
There are many different kinds of side hustles you can choose from. If your main job isn’t too demanding, you can pick up evening shifts at a local store or business. If you need flexibility, find a gig you can do from home, or one with hours you can dictate, like driving for a ride-hailing company or working for a grocery delivery service.
2. Consolidate your debt
If your credit card bills keep climbing, a big reason may be that you’re not only accruing interest, but you’re doing so at a high rate. If you’re able to lower the interest rate on your debt, those credit card bills could become more manageable.
You have a few options to tackle credit card interest. First, you can see if you qualify to do a balance transfer, where you move your existing balances onto a single card with a lower interest rate. You might even manage to find a card with a 0% introductory rate.
Next, you can see about consolidating your credit card bills in the form of a personal loan. The loan you get may come with a much lower interest rate than what your cards are charging you.
Now, you should know that the better your credit score, the more likely you’ll be to get approved for a balance transfer or for a personal loan with a competitive interest rate. Having a lot of debt can make it difficult to maintain a strong credit score. But if you’ve been making all of your credit card minimum payments on time, then your score may be in solid enough territory to make a balance transfer or a personal loan feasible.
3. Rethink some large expenses
Shifting your lifestyle around is not an easy thing to do. But if you’re really struggling with massive credit card bills, you may need to unload some large expenses to free up the cash to get rid of them. That could mean trading in your car for a much less expensive one, or downsizing your living space to shrink your rent costs.
If you’re already living a pared-down lifestyle, you may not have many large expenses to cut. But if you know you’re renting a more expensive home than you can comfortably afford (or one that’s become too expensive in light of your credit card bills), then moving is one option to look at, if you’re able to do so cheaply.
Also, remember that whatever changes you end up making could be temporary. If dumping expenses helps you get out of debt, you can then start spending more money once those nagging bills are gone and you’ve managed to shore up your finances.
Having credit card bills hanging over your head can be stressful — and costly. If that’s the boat you’re in, these moves could be your ticket to a more positive financial picture.