17 Winning Tips & Tricks To Legally Eliminate Credit Card Debt (For Good!)

Credit card debt stinks.

Most of us aren’t immune to the evils of credit card debt. We experience it at some point in our lives.

We typically find ourselves in credit card debt when we don’t know any better (and don’t understand the cost of high-interest debt) and/or when we’re struggling financially for some reason. Some of us didn’t have enough saved up to weather long financial downturns and turned to credit cards to make up the difference.

When you finally wake up or get back on your feet and realize you need to pay down this credit card debt, depending on how much you have, it may seem like a pretty daunting task.

Here are some helpful tips to help you reduce your credit card debt and to help you avoid going into more debt in the future.

Coming Up With Strategies to Legally Eliminate Credit Card Debt

1. Listen to Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey will motivate you to pay off your debts. Period. He’s the man with the seven step plan that can really help you to kick your debt reduction plan in gear. He’s got a radio show and a daily podcast you can tap into.

2. Create a Credit Card Debt Reduction Plan

Credit card debt is typically the worst kind of debt we have in our liability portfolio. But there actually may be something worse in there. It’s good to have an overall debt reduction plan and see where your credit card debt falls into priority. Should you be attacking this debt first?

3. Know Which Credit Card to Pay Off First

Should you pay off the card with the lowest balance first or the one with the highest interest rate? Take the time to understand the difference and make the decision for yourself. If you only have a little bit of credit card debt it’s not going to make much difference. But for big balances, this can be worth your time.

4. Post a Debt Payoff Schedule on the Fridge

Where your stomach is, there will your mind be also (or something like that). Hyperfocus on your payoff plan by putting it front and center.

5. Think Twice Before You Cut Up Your Cards

Cutting up the cards and swearing off credit for good works for some people, but not me. I’ve found a positive side to credit cards. And really think hard before canceling your credit card account. This can negatively affect your credit score.

6. Consider Getting Help for Your Credit Card Help

If you have tried everything and still find yourself struggling to pay off your credit card debts, then I encourage you to turn to the right people for help. The credit counseling industry is full of scammers and fraudulent people. Avoid these types by going to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and seek out one of their members, a Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

Or, you can enlist the services of the Pay Off Debt app to help you get rid of your credit card debt.

Taking Action to Legally Eliminate Your Credit Card Debt

Here are some helpful tips to help you reduce your credit card debt and to help you avoid going into more debt in the future.

7. Pay Off the High-Interest Balance First

If you’re number cruncher, consider paying off your debts by tackling the card with the highest interest rate first. Then, move to the next highest interest rate card. This will help you pay less in interest over time.

8. Pay Off the Smallest Balance First

If you need to be motivated by a quick win, consider using the debt snowball approach. Build upon your small victories and destroy your credit card debt one at a time starting with the smallest. There’s a big psychological advantage to using this plan of attack.

9. Put Your Credit Cards On Ice

Literally, put your credit cards in a cup or bowl of water and place it in the freezer. You’ll still have the card(s) for emergencies, but you won’t have it with you at the store or have it readily accessible for online shopping.

10. Eliminate Other Expenses

If you’re saying you’re not able to make your credit card payments but you haven’t yet gone hardcore frugal, then I have no mercy for you. Determine the minimum level of spending you need to give your family food and shelter. Then, eliminate all other expenses. With this new found money, you should find it easier to pay down the balances on your credit cards.

11. Become a Freegan (Kidding…Sort Of)

Along those same lines, consider becoming somewhat of a freegan (a person who tries to use only free products and services). You don’t have to change your entire life forever, but it will surely help to get rid of debt if you can devote most of your extra income to debt reduction. Using free products and services only will help you do this.

12. Sell Your Junk

Odds are that at least some of your credit card debt is made up of things just lying around your house that you don’t use anymore. To speed up your credit card payoff schedule, bring in some extra cash by selling your stuff on Craigslist, Facebook, eBay, or a site like Decluttr.

Also, consider having a garage sale for even quicker cash.

13. Increase Your Income

If you don’t have junk to sell and you’re serious about reducing your debts, then consider taking on a second job or find a way to make extra money to really help with your finances. Use the extra funds towards reducing your credit card debt much quicker. Once you’re done, you can drop the second job. If you get a bonus at work or find some unexpected money somewhere, also use those funds towards your debt.

I encourage you to take a look at some of my money making interviews and also exhaust every other resource you have for coming up with other income ideas. Take these extra earnings and use them to pay off that old debt.

14. Call Your Credit Card Companies to Negotiate a Better Rate

If you don’t mind staying on hold on the phone for a while, call up your credit card company and talk to them about lowering the interest rate on your card. By lowering your interest rate, you’ll be lowering the amount of money your credit card company is adding to your debt each month. All this takes is a few minutes of your time. The worst they can do is to tell you no.

Tips: Have a competing card in mind when negotiating. If they resist, tell them you are likely going to switch to using a different card and just pay this one off. This will likely get your rate lowered.

15. Transfer Your High-Interest Balance

If your balances and interest rates are big enough, consider transferring your credit card balances to a card with a 0% promotional interest rate. Be aware of transfer fees, which might negate any interest savings you experience. Also, be careful not to use this new card as an opportunity to spend more.

While this doesn’t eliminate your credit card debt, it does help you decrease the balances; all while paying less interest. This isn’t a method that should be used by the undisciplined, but it can be a wise move. You can move the debt that is on a card charging high interest to another credit card that will actually not charge you interest for a certain period.

The only reason I mention it is because I did this myself back in 2002 when I was paying off my own credit card debt.

16. Obsessively Track Your Spending

Are you obsessed with controlling your spending? Maybe you need this extra motivation to help you avoid future debt, and to provide extra room in your budget for fast debt reduction payoff. Track your spending with a software like Personal Capital, or consider a zero-based budget.

17. Track Your Debt Reduction Progress Visually

Once you have started implementing your plan, make sure it’s written out and displayed somewhere in your house for you to see every day. Be sure it reflects your progress as you start to pay off your credit card debts.

You might also want to put something in your wallet with your cards if you haven’t already put them on ice.

What have you struggled most with in paying down debt? Any other strategies that you have found to be effective in finally getting rid of your credit card debt?

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Last Edited: August 8, 2017 @ 10:30 pmThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, podcaster, FinCon Founder, husband, and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Listen to the new podcast, Masters of Money!

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  1. After following most or all of these steps and you’ve paid your dues, start anew and plan your spending more carefully using your credit cards. Dave Ramsey’s not the only person you can depend on, as I can be suggestion #6 too!

  2. I was cringing and getting sick to my stomach reading this article, it was as though I was reliving my own stress and constant worrying all over again.

    I was in the same situation and I researched so much and I can tell you that with debt consolidation and planning, being financial organized, staying focused with a plan to pay of your balance much sooner by accelerating your pay down and not just paying your minimum amount you can definitely pay of your debt quickly and years sooner and save your sanity.

    I am now finally debt free because of going here and now, the only debt I owe, is a debt of gratitude. Manage your debt and pay it off instead of being hassled by collection agencies and legal action.

  3. A credit card debt consolidation is just the perfect to solution to manage large amounts of debts. It is indeed wise to consult someone who is more knowledgeable in dealing serious debt settlements. One would never want to end up being broke because of mismanagement.

  4. One of the most common ways many individuals do when trying to eliminate credit card debts is borrow money from their family or friends – which is not really the smartest move. It’s understandable though, how some people feel that it’s the only solution left.

    But borrowing money from people you know is hardly the solution that can accomplish the purpose of eliminating debt. Remember that the longer your credit card debt remains unpaid, the worse your situation gets. The accumulated interest and the rate will continue to increase and compound your debt many times over.

    So what do you do? How do you achieve legal debt elimination? Simple. Find a reputable debt reduction program with a proven record to help you find your debt relief solution. Get help today. Your problem won’t go away by itself. We all need a helping hand at one time or another. So find that debt reduction program now and get out of the sticky situation you’re in before you are forced into bankruptcy.

  5. Yea, I am with you on getting rates lowered, even with the CC companies losing so much money these days, some are still offering deals. We actually just closed a credit card account yesterday and we were offered a much better rate to keep our business…

  6. yeah, I’m sure the act will have a huge impact. the rules will be changing for sure. who knows what they’ll be more flexible with in the future.

    one thing is for sure, like any good business owner, they will find a way to make up any loses that the act will cause.

  7. Zach @College for 10k says:

    Very good points there.

    Do you think that the credit card act that took affect today will change credit card companies willingness to lower APR’s?

    My initial thought is that it would as they are losing millions of dollars due to this act…