Credit card debt is no way to start off the new year, but the Federal Reserve Bank recently reported that credit card balances increased by $48 billion in the third quarter of 2023, making that a 4.7% increase from the previous quarter. With credit card interest rates still sky high at 24.59%, according to LendingTree, it might be time to plan how you’re going to pay down any credit card debt you have—especially if you find yourself delinquent on your accounts.
If you’re looking to get out of debt or stay out of debt, you’ll need a plan. Here’s some advice on how to make a fresh financial start in 2024:
Go over your monthly expenses
It’s a good idea to know what you owe so you can plan accordingly. Sit down and go over everything you pay each month, so you can designate funds to pay down your credit card debt.
Pick a repayment method that will work for you
Instead of trying to figure out how much to pay to what card each month, you can try one of these repayment methods:
- Debt avalanche: Pay minimum payments on all your cards and apply the remaining funds to your highest interest credit card. Once that’s paid off, you start the cycle over.
- Debt snowball: Similar to the debt avalanche, you’ll pay minimum payments on your other cards while applying the remaining funds to your card with the lowest balance, and so on.
Budget with multiple accounts
To ensure you don’t pile on more debt, keep two checking accounts—one for fun and one for household expenses. You can use your fun account for shopping, eating out, going to the movies, and more—but once it’s gone, you’ll have to wait until your next pay period.
Try debt management
You’ll want to book a session with a credit counselor, who will go over your budget and help you plan financially. If you want to enroll in a debt management plan, your counselor can talk to your creditors to get your credit cards consolidated into one monthly payment and your interest rate dropped, so you can pay off your debt successfully.
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