So maybe you overdid it with spending over the holidays. You are carrying a higher than usual balance on your credit card, adding to your debt pile. You want to pay off debt as quickly as possible, but your income just doesn’t go far enough to cover as much as you’d like. As the debt sits and accumulates interest, it seems like a hopeless venture. Unless something drastic changes, you may feel like you are waging a losing battle against your credit cards.
But you’re not a victim. The drastic change you need is sitting right there within your grasp. Getting rid of your credit card debt is based partly in financial strategy, but it has deep roots in modifying your behaviour and deciding it is possible. But where do you even start?
“Paying down debt is hard work and it can often take a long time to accomplish, which can be discouraging. And when your debt is spread across multiple cards, the prospect of paying it down can seem overwhelming. It’s hard to visualize life without debt,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“You accumulated this debt one transaction at time. You’ve got to use the same step-by-step process to pay off debt, one payment at a time. In addition to identifying a strategy, you’ve got to be able to find a way to motivate yourself over the long term,” says Schwartz.
As it turns out, the best approaches to paying down debt is all about focus and confidence.
Jump the small hurdles first
A recent Oxford Journal study showed that for people with multiple credit card debts, there is tremendous benefit- both psychologically and financially in concentrating on a single debt, rather than chipping away a little bit at time at them all.
When a single debt was identified, participants felt in control and were far more motivated to pay off all of their debts successfully. What’s more is that when the participants picked their smallest accounts to attack first, they were able to churn up even more motivation over the long term.
Knock off self-doubt
While spending beyond your means may have gotten you into debt, it is the perception of your ability to change that cycle that will either help you succeed or place your goal out of reach. Your behaviour and your motivation to achieve debt-free status may create an unnecessary barrier.
You can remedy this by building up your debt confidence.
Develop a debt-busting budget
Pick your smallest debt and prove to yourself that you can pay it down. Retool your budget to get a little more cash flow to direct towards that debt. You can either cut back on spending or increase your income through part-time work or selling some of your belongings. Once you have conquered that debt, continue up the debt ladder.
Once you reach your biggest balance, you’ll be a debt-paying machine, with a tested strategy in place.
Do you want to pay down your debts but are unsure of where to start? Is fear of failure holding you back? You will succeed if you develop a plan and see it through. We can help you, give us a call at or visit our free online debt analysis.