Stuck in Debt? Follow These 5 Tips for Financial Freedom

Paying off credit card debt is not as impossible as many people think. Change your attitude by implementing these five strategies.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: June 09, 2018
Between the cost of education and opening and your own practice, taking out loans is a necessary evil for most veterinarians. But borrowing money can lead to borrowing more money, which can lead to you sinking under an ocean of financial debt. 

LendEDU, an online provider of free financial resources, conducted a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. credit card holders who carried a balance of more than $5,000. The results revealed that the average respondent held a credit card debt balance of $13,884. Of those, only 60.6 percent believe they will be able to become completely credit card debt-free.

Does this situation sound familiar? If so, don’t become a part of the statistic — you can, and will, become credit card debt-free.

Here are some of the best ways to pay off your surmounting credit card bills.

1. Create a financial plan.

Write down everything you owe. Assess your financial situation as a whole and start visualizing how you can get to that sweet, debt-free spot. Recent research shows that those with written financial plans also save regularly and manage their debt more effectively. If you don’t know what you owe and what you have saved, there’s no way you will be able to set yourself free.

2. Ask what you need to pay off now.

Call up your credit card provider and ask them what it will take to bring your payment status up from “delinquent” to “current” or “on-time.” The figure they give you is what you need to focus on paying first. Continuing to ignore delinquency will simply make your problems worse.

3. Start with the highest interest rate.

Chances are you have multiple credit cards with varying outstanding balances on them. Figure out which credit card holds the highest interest rate and focus on paying off that credit card debt first. Once you eliminate your toughest balance, move on to the next.

4. Always pay the minimum balance no matter what.

If you’re missing payments or paying below the minimum monthly amount, you’re digging yourself deeper and deeper into debt. While you remain focused on your credit card with the highest interest rate, don’t forget to make the minimum payments for the others.

5. Reassess your financial situation frequently.

Paying off credit card debt is going to be stressful — 88.6 percent of the LendEDU survey respondents reported some level of stress due to their credit card debt. But if you take time each month to carefully review your statements, balances and financial plan, you should begin to see positive changes. These positive changes should alleviate some of this stress and encourage you to keep trekking along.

Paying off credit card debt is not as impossible as many Americans think. With a good plan in place and financial focus in the right areas, you will be well on your way to becoming debt-free.

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