Post-Wedding: 6 Tips to Get Out Of Credit Card Debt Quickly
Have you been leaving your credit card bills unopened before the wedding because you’re scared of the amount you need to pay? The first thing to do is to accept that you may have spent more than you can afford and that you might be in debt. Once you’ve come to terms with it, look at what can you do to get out of it ASAP.
Stop using your credit cards
You may not be able to control the debt already accumulated, but what you can do is top creating more debt. So, cease all credit card use immediately - freeze them in ice, get your spouse to hide them in a box and not tell you where they are. Basically, do what you must until you have managed to bring the bills down to a reasonable level.
This is the most practical tip. Do up a budget of your monthly expenses and stick to it. Make purchases only for your daily needs. These daily needs should not include wine and wagyu beef. Curb your shopping impulses and set aside all superfluous expenses. You may have also accumulated a lot of miles while spending on your wedding, but don't rush to redeem flights if you can't afford the holiday. Snagging a free flight only to deepen your debt problem isn't a wise move. You don't have to deny yourself of credit cards forever, just remember that it's a temporary measure until you're debt free.
Go for a cheaper card
We do not recommend a credit card balance transfer as a means to get out of debt. However, if you find a bank that offers substantially lower interest rates than what your credit card currently charges, then you should transfer your credit card balance to another bank and enjoy a smaller interest charge to your bill every month. But make sure you know what you're doing and take the opportunity to pay off your debt rather than drag it out.
Clear debt in stages
Don't dig into your savings and repay the debt in one go just because you have high credit card bills. It's important to have some savings set aside for a rainy day. Make a repayment plan for your cards - open an Excel sheet and list your credit cards, annual subscription fees, interest rates and all other charges related to them. Prioritise repayment of card bills with high interest rates and annual fees. Once the expensive credit cards are paid off, move on to the cheaper cards and start repaying the balance. However, this doesn't mean that you should concentrate on paying off one card and forget about the rest. Make sure that you're at least making minimum payments on all cards while you're focussed on clearing off the dues of one card.
Go for debt consolidation
Taking a loan to clear other debts sounds quite silly, but consider the costs involved. Debt consolidation loans come with lower interest rates than credit cards. For instance, let's say you have a Citibank credit card at 26% interest per year, a UOB credit card at 25.9%, and a Maybank credit card at 15%. The total interest you'd pay on $100 (total of $300) for each card would be about $67. However, if you take a debt consolidation loan at an interest rate of 12%, you'll only have to pay about $36 for the same amount of $300. Debt consolidation loans will help you pay off your debts and reduce the monthly repayment burden.
Consult the experts
Did you know that Singapore has a credit counselling service that can advise you on your debts and help you clear them? Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) is a non-government-link organisation that helps people with unsecured consumer debt problems and educates them on finance management. You can approach the CCS any time with your problem and get assistance in clearing your dues. The organisation can also put you on a Debt Management Programme (DMP), which is a monthly debt repayment plan that works with you on a daily basis to save enough for debt repayment and helps you deal with creditors. If you don’t think you could sort your problem yourself, CCS is the place you should go to.
This article was written by BankBazaar.sg, a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for a credit card, personal loan, home loan, car loan and insurance.