I wasn’t properly educated on how to pay off credit card debt. I knew it had to be paid off but I didn’t really have a specific plan on how to pay it off.
I’ve seen a lot of posts on Pinterest claiming to pay tens of thousands of dollars in debt in an unrealistic amount of time (ex. I paid off $30K in 6 months) and I’m here to tell you that this is not that kind of post. I believe it is important to still live a fruitful life while paying off debt. Sure, if we would have taken away our most exciting wants (ie. subscriptions, drive one car, weekend fun for our daughter), we could have paid this off earlier but that’s not the route my family wanted to take.
If you find yourself with credit card debt because you didn’t know how to avoid going into debt in the first place keep reading this post about how I managed to pay off over $4,000 in credit card debt in only 9 months!
If nothing else, you will see ideas on how to tackle your own credit card debt.
Credit Card Debt Background
*cue sappy music*
It all started back in 2017. I bought two laptops for $750 each and for two years, I just kept racking up the bill without ever putting a lot of money onto the existing debt. I was making minimum payments. And I honestly think that was my biggest mistake – next to continuously using it.
Between 2017 and 2019, I opened 5 more credit cards. I opened most of them to take advantage of store discounts and luckily I kept the balance on low or zeroed out at all times.
In 2019, I knew after basically chasing my tail that I had to take action. Read on to see the growth of my debt and my game plan to paying my credit card debt to ZERO!
Pro Tip: I used Bankrate’s Credit Card Payoff Calculator to get an idea of how my plan looked once the numbers were crunched!
How I Planned to Pay off Credit Card Debt PLUS Timeline
July 2019: I had $2,800 in credit card debt that dated back to 2017. My family and I moved into a new house and needed to purchase a washer & dryer on a newly opened credit card. This credit card was offering interest free loaning for 18 months. The washer and dryer set us back another $1,400. Debt Left: $4,200.00
August: Started thinking about how much credit card debt I was carrying around and hashed a plan to take care of it before the Summer of 2020. Doubled up on minimum balance and researched the option to complete a balance transfer. Debt Left: $4,085.00
September: Transferred the $2,800 credit card balance (about 24% interest rate, if I remember right) to a credit card that was offering a 0% interest rate for 12 months. This basically meant that I had 12 months to pay off the transferred balance without paying interest and if I couldn’t meet that deadline, I’d have to pay back interest on the entire transfer amount. Debt Left: $3,820.00
October-January 2020: We continued our double payments and started to look for more ways to find the extra money to attack our debt faster. We minimized out to eat trips and online shopping. During this time we were able to pay our $3,820.00 debt down by $1,080! Debt Left: $2,740.00
February: As part of our debt repayment plan we vowed to dedicate $1,400.00 of our tax check to the cause. I believe because we made it a priority, it was a lot easier to let that money go. Debt Left: $1,340.00
March: As with the tax check, I am lucky enough to get a yearly bonus at my job and I knew that I would dedicate 100% of that to paying off the rest of our credit card debt. Debt Left: $0.00!!!!!
And there you have it! In 9 months we paid off a total of $4,200 of credit card debt!
Alternative Plans for Paying Off Credit Card Debt
Now, just because this was our plan to paying off credit card debt. Yours will absolutely be different (no ones debt journey is the same). Like I said in the beginning of this post, it was important to us to not feel like we were missing out on life because our debt mistakes was bogging us down….so we took a little extra time to pay off our debt. You may have a tighter timeline on your hands.
Furthermore, not every gets bonuses from their job and/or they may not even get a tax refund! See below for more creative ways to pay off your credit card debt!
- Side job opportunities – Uber, Grocery Delivery, Babysitting, Tutoring
- Put Subscriptions on hold
- Refrain from spending on your card and creating new debt (my biggest mistake)
- Pull back on your retirement investments (this is a last ditch effort – if you don’t have to, don’t do it).