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Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt

Feb. 6, 2020
3 mins
A man and woman look overwhelmed as they calculate their expenses

Credit card bills got you down? That’s the trouble with paying with plastic. It is easy to spend, but not quite as easy to pay off the debt you accrue – especially if you are only paying the minimum each month.

Carrying too much credit card debt can make it harder to get a mortgage loan for a house or finance a car should you need to. It can also be enormously stressful if you fall behind and end up in the crosshairs of a collection agency. So, before you get any deeper in debt, it is time to get your financial house in order and develop a plan for paying off your credit card debt. Whether it’s working to bring in more income, budgeting, credit counselling, or a debt-consolidation loan, resources are available to help ease some of that burden.

Stop using your credit cards immediately

If you are serious about paying off your credit card debt, then you better stop using them. Otherwise, you continue to add to the debt you are trying to pay off. Take them out of your purse or wallet, lock them away, or shred them if necessary.

Set a budget and stick to it

Setting a strict budget will help you avoid unnecessary spending. Start with your monthly wages and calculate how much you need for rent or mortgage, utilities, transportation, and food. Cut spending on anything you can live without for few months while you pay off your debt (yes, that includes subscription services). Anything remaining should be allocated towards paying off your credit card bills.

Find a side hustle

If you can bring in more cash each month, then you can pay off your credit card bill faster. Set aside some of your spare time to earn additional income in the gig economy as a ride-share driver or make deliveries. Are you exceptionally good at a certain skill? Teach lessons on the side out of your home. Own a lawnmower? Cut lawns for extra cash.

Pay off cards with the highest interest rates first

If you are juggling multiple cards with different rates, you need to prioritize which cards to pay off first. The best way to do this is to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, followed by the next highest rate and so on. To do this, simply pay the minimum on all your cards, and put extra funds towards the card with the highest rate until you can pay it off.

Get credit counselling

If you still feel like you are drowning in debt and are unable to stick to a budget, you might consider turning to a credit counselling agency to help you negotiate with credit companies on your behalf. They can help you develop a debt management plan and provide you with the coaching necessary for success.

Consider a consolidation loan

If you are dealing with high-interest rates and multiple cards, it might make more financial sense to apply for a personal loan that will pay off all of your credit cards in full. Instead of managing multiple payments, you only have to worry about one bill each month.

It is a lot less stressful, easier to manage, and you can potentially save a significant amount of interest. For this method to work, you need to find the right personal loan.

Shopping around to find the personal loan with the lowest interest rate will mean more money left in your pocket to put towards payment, which also means climbing out of debt faster.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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