It’s no secret that many Americans are working to free themselves from burdensome credit card debt. The reasons are plentiful, but generally, they come down to the same final mindset: the unpredictable economy plays too big a role in what their bank accounts look like.
There was once a time when job security was a bit more reliable, our overall economic outlook was slightly more promising and the stock market plugged along, all the while protecting our retirement funds. These days? Not so much. All across the nation, folks in all stages of their lives are now rethinking the American Dream.
Soon to be retirees, young college graduates and those who are already raising a family have legitimate reasons for wanting to knock out that credit card debt and one of those reasons is actually quite simple: we sleep better when there are fewer worries on our minds. Still, you might be surprised at the choices some families made in order to arrive at a destination that doesn’t include a monthly credit card payment. Take a look at some of these unlikely justifications.
We Opened a New Account
Yes, really. Some savvy consumers realized that the competition is quite brutal between credit card companies these days and it opens up a golden opportunity to take advantage of those generous and extended 0% APR intro rates for balance transfers.
We transferred the balances of our two credit cards onto a new credit card that had an impressive intro period. That allowed us to apply the payments to the principle only, which ended up saving us in the long run,
says one young couple. One monthly payment is better than two – especially when there’s no interest involved. A word of caution: you probably don’t want to close those other two accounts. First, they’re the ones showing your payment history and lenders want to see long-term accounts that were paid on time. That information can’t be gleaned from a new credit card account.
Also, those intro periods, no matter how generous, will eventually expire, so you’ll want to practice discipline in working to pay as much off before it expires; otherwise, you might not be doing yourself any favors. Looking for a great balance transfer credit card offer? Consider the Chase Slate Vertical Card with Blueprint. A generous fifteen month intro period for balance transfers along with no annual fee could result in impressive savings.
Saving vs. Paying Down Debt
That’s a question many consumers struggle with. It feels like a gamble and one that’s not a sure thing. Still, many are finding a way to make it work. By taking a realistic look at your ability to save, along with the debt you’re carrying, might reveal a different perspective that shows you’re better off by tapping into your savings to pay off those high interest credit cards. Of course, that’s not going to be a viable solution for everyone, but it’s certainly worth an hour or two spent at the kitchen table doing the math. Some even commit a certain percentage of their savings to go towards their credit card balances. When it’s done properly, the money you’re saving each month because you’re paying less interest on a lower balance could make it a sure thing.
Where are Those Scissors?
Yes, the tried and true “cut the credit card” party still works for some less disciplined folks. It’s a bold move, to be sure, but remember it comes down to how you want your finances to look a year or two from now. If you struggle with self-discipline, it might be worth the sacrifice. Once you’ve paid down the debt and are more confident in your ability to tell yourself “no”, you can always request a new card. The goal is to ensure you don’t find yourself repeating history, though. It can be a bold move – but the alternative might be worse.
Whatever you ultimately decide to do about your credit card debt, be sure it’s a realistic approach. What works for one family might not be the right choice for another. If you’re not confident of your own decision making abilities when it comes to your finances, it might be worth a small investment to speak to a professional. As simple as it sounds, keeping your eye on the ball, so to speak, just might be your long term saving grace.