Q: I recently found a new job after a few months of unemployment. I’d like to pay down my credit card debt as fast as I can. I’d used the cards (I have three) to buy groceries and pay some bills, but I’ve run up a few thousand dollars. — B. Santos from Boise, Idaho
A: Good for you for finding a new job and wanting to address your credit card debt right off the bat.
Trust us, you’re not alone. According to Fitch Ratings, the average credit card debt per household is $15,788, according to CreditCards.com.
The best way to pay down that debt as quickly as possible is to craft a good plan. We’ve come up with some specific steps to help out. If you follow them, you should not only be able to pay down your debt faster, but you'll be able to cut into interest rate costs, which will improve your credit score.
If you keep at it, you’ll take the quickest path to paying off your credit card debt. If you really want to hit the accelerator, negotiate a “pay off” amount on your highest-interest rate cards with your card carrier. Cardholders have been known to take 30% or more off their total card balance by paying off the debt in one lump sum. You’ll likely have to cancel the card, but so what? That’s the reason you got into so much debt trouble in the first place.
The goal is to pour as much as you can into those high-interest rate card debts. That’s the key to paying down your debt — as quickly as possible.
—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.