Jump Start January: Personal Finance Week: Day 5
Today’s task is a quick and easy one for me: I’m paying off my credit card completely. Zero balance.
This isn’t necessarily easy, or even possible for many people, so please don’t feel obliged to copy me if it isn’t appropriate for your circumstances.
The reason I’m able to do this is because I’ve gone out of my way over the last few years to live well within my means, and I’ve done everything I could to pay off any debts. It wasn’t always easy, but I stuck at it and can honestly say it was completely worth the effort.
I now regularly put a little money aside for 10 months of the year so I can afford the festive season when it inevitably comes around, to spread the cost and avoid the panicky January hangover. That’s why I can pay the bill off in one go, and since it’s a small amount every month I don’t really miss it.
To some extent I have to admit that I’ve also been lucky. For example, many people end up with debts because they become ill, or their relationships break up, and there are serious financial consequences.
If you can’t pay off your credit card in full today, there are a few other options you might prefer. You could:
- Pay off a bit more than the minimum amount demanded by the credit card company, so that you start chipping away at the debt.
- Pay off the minimum amount in good time if that’s all you can afford, so at least you don’t get hit with charges and threats.
- Move your debt to a zero-interest or lower-interest card for a bit of breathing space while you decide what to do next (look out for hidden charges and arrangement fees).
- Contact a free, non-profit debt advice organisation such as CCCS for help if you’re struggling (beware commercial companies that would make a profit from your problems)
Good luck! Let us know how you get on.
I like your idea of saving for 10 months to pay for Christmas – wish I had the discipline to do that! I’m going to have a fair amount on my credit card bill this month from the festive season but I’ve still got a couple of months 0% interest on it as part of the deal so I can at least spread out the payments a bit.
Thanks Jackie – hope you can pay off your card before it starts charging interest. Good luck!
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