I get asked all the time for advice on credit card debt. We all know that credit card debt is the enemy of a monthly budget. Your money has better things to do than paying down finance charges and interest. But, if you are currently in debt, then you need to do something about it.
Most of my clients want to know the best way to pay off their credit card debt. Most people ask me if they should put all their resources into debt repayment. My answer to that is “no”. There is one thing that I believe everyone should do while paying off credit card debt – build an emergency savings fund.
You are probably saying that you have no money to save! I’m telling you that you need to find the funds. Your credit card debt may seem like your biggest priority, but if you take all your extra money to pay down debt, then you will find yourself running up credit card debt any time an unbudgeted expense pops up. These unexpected budget breakers are such regular events that we should learn to expect them. Your car breaks will need to be replaced, an appliance will need a new part, the roof will need new shingles. It’s inevitable. I could go on, but you get the idea.
You need to find a balance in your budget with savings on one side and debt repayment on the other.
The easiest way to build an emergency savings account
Each pay period you should have some money automatically transferred from your paycheck to a savings account. Start out with a small amount on a regular basis. That way you won’t feel the pinch and you will be setting aside money to use when something unexpected happens so you won’t have to use your credit cards.
A good way to pay off debt
To pay down your credit card debt:
- Make a detailed list of each credit card, the amount owed, the credit limit, the interest rate(s) and minimum payment amounts
- Look at your options – can you transfer the highest interest rate debt to a lower interest credit card (maybe you have room on a credit card you already have)?
- If you are considering opening up another credit card, please think before doing so. There a number of factors that are involved here . Check my website www.JillRussoFoster.com for the five factors that make up your credit score.
On Monday, I will talk about paying down your debt.