As if the day to day grind of being a mother weren’t enough to make you bite your manicured nails down to nubs, these days most mother’s can add the stress of credit card debt to her pile of concerns. It usually starts out so innocently; Christmas gifts for the kids, a much needed vacation to Cancun, the car broke down two days after the warranty expired, and of course the desperate need for one more pair of Jimmy Choo shoes… all of it can add up fast!
Despite the overwhelming despair that credit card debt can cause, it is possible to dig your way out. All it takes is a little patience and a little sacrifice – two attributes every mom is born with!
- Pay more than the minimum… When looking through your mountain of bills, it may seem tempting to only pay that $25.00 minimum required, but often times this does you more harm than good. Most credit cards have such a high interest rate that paying only the minimum will never even make a dent in the actual balance. Typically speaking, the minimum barely even covers the added interest. The best thing to do is to put your cards in order from the card with the highest interest rate to the lowest. Continue to pay the minimum on all cards except the two highest. On these cards, pay an extra $20, $50 or whatever extra you can swing. Once those cards are all paid off, you can continue this routine with all of the other credit cards.
- Call on your favorite relative… by this I mean your Uncle Sam! Sure everyone wants to use their tax refund for more memorable experiences than paying off bills, but it’s one of the fastest ways to eliminate your credit card debt, or at the very least cut it in half. Most credit card companies are willing to offer you a payoff if you can make a lump sum payment. This means if your balance is $1,200 but you can pay $850 today, many companies will eat the extra amount and take the payoff.
- Consult a credit counseling service… today’s debt solutions companies can make paying off your credit card debt a simple process. Typically, they can even get you lower interest rates and erase prior late fees. In addition, instead of spending 20 minutes in your online bill pay account making $20.00 payments to 12 different credit card companies, you only need to make one payment to the debt solution company… and they will do the rest!
- Minimize unnecessary spending… ask the average woman what she could afford to cut back on and most would immediately respond, “Nothing!” However, if you take a closer look at your budget, you may find yourself amazed at the extra money you could have. For example, streamlining your cable or Direct TV service could cut your monthly bill by $50-60. Doesn’t seem like much, but in a year’s time this could allow you to put an extra $600+ toward your credit card debt. If that seems unreasonable, try eliminating one family or date night activity a month. The average couple spends $100 on a date night of dinner and a movie. The average family spends almost twice that amount on similar activities. Again, cutting out just one night’s expense a month can add up to over $2,000 a year! Hey, there’s one credit card balance right there!
Skinny Mom Fact: Slightly more than half of Americans — 51 percent — said that in the past 12 months, they carried over a balance and was charged interest on a credit card. Okay ladies, time to skip that weekly visit to Sephora and put that money toward your credit card debt!