Tricks for Paying Off Your Credit Cards

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If you have credit card debt hanging over your head, buckle down and develop a payment strategy that will allow you to pay off your credit cards quickly. Use a few different tricks to motivate yourself to follow through and get rid of your debt as quickly as possible.

Stop Using Credit

Cut yourself off from using your credit cards to pay them off much more quickly. Even if you are making large monthly payments each month, they won't have any effect if you are charging just as much to the credit card. Rather than cutting up the credit cards, which makes them unavailable for use in a true emergency, place each card in a bowl of water and put them in the freezer. Because of the extra effort of getting to the cards, you will have time to consider whether the situation is a true emergency that requires use of the credit card.

Increase Monthly Payments

As you start to pay down your credit card balances, your monthly payments will go down because they are calculated as a percent of the balance. However, rather than paying less on your credit cards, challenge yourself to make a bigger credit card payment every month. When you make your payments each month, add up all of the payments and set your goal for the next month a little higher. Put the extra payment each month toward the credit card with the highest interest rate to pay off that balance first.

Pinch Pennies

Be frugal with your purchases and use the extra money to make additional payments on your credit card. This trick works best if you use a cash budgeting system. For example, say you budget $60 for groceries and $40 for work lunches each week. Pay yourself in cash at the beginning of the week. Use your money carefully during the week, trying to spend the bare minimum. At the end of the week, put the leftover cash in a jar marked "Extra Payments." When it comes time to pay your credit card bill, count up the money in the jar and use it for an extra payment on the card with the highest interest rate.

Reward Yourself

If you have many credit cards to pay off, set up a reward system for yourself so you get something special each time you pay off a credit card. For example, you could decide to stop buying clothes while you are paying off your credit cards, except that you get $50 to spend on clothes each time you finish paying off a credit card balance. These small rewards will help you indulge yourself, even on a tight budget while you are trying to pay off the cards quickly.

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