The problem of debt is often compared to a mountain—a mountain of extraterrestrial wrath. We feel weak on our knees and chills creep up our spines when we look at our debt figure— a five to six digit number that sports the devil’s shadow.
But the truth is that debt isn’t as devious as it sounds like. Yes, thinking of paying a $100k debt in one go sounds like a nerve wrecking thought (the first reaction being “how will I gather all that money?”), but strategizing it right can tackle debt right down to the perch.
We researched about how thousands of people searched for how to pay off 20,000 in credit card debt and just like you; people believe that paying a debt is rocket science. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it isn’t.
If your credit card debt is a mountain, then climb that mountain by learning how to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt. Here are 9 rock solid steps to get you up and running—it doesn’t matter if the debt is $20k, $100k or anything above and beyond.
If you are wondering how to pay off (insert amount here) in credit card debt, follow the steps below.
1. Own up to your Credit Card Debt
Something that made you Google how to pay off 20,000 in credit card debt must’ve been the debt itself. There is, however, a common sight where credit card users would blame anyone but themselves when it comes to excuses in paying off debts.
Yep, that’s right—people blame the economy, their credit card company’s CEO, the Knicks and even President Trump for their credit card debt jitters. The real problem starts when the blame game blows astronomically out of proportions.
As a valuable member of the American Financial system, it is your responsibility to pay off credit card debt. It is your problem and you have to fix it by paying back what you borrowed. Own up to your mistakes and your credit card debt.
However, we are here to set things straight and we do that by taking the first step—to pay off your credit card debt, face your worst fears and accept all that credit card debt as your mistake. For now is the time to fix those mistakes.
2. The Double-Edged Sword of Sacrifice
If you think you are going to succeed in paying off $20,000 worth of credit card debt no strings attached, it won’t come with a get-out-of-jail-free card. Every honorable deed needs a sacrifice and paying off your credit card debt demands one as well.
If you want to pay off your credit card debt, get ready to sacrifice those not-so-necessary things out of your budget (we are looking at you, Starbucks Latte). For every sacrifice you make and every sliver you save out of your pocket, this money would help you in paying off that credit card debt.
Learn to sacrifice your guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures and use that money for debt payoff. There have been various instances of people who save up a considerate part of their hard-earned money to just spend it on their hobbies but paying off debt demands sacrifice.
If you want to pay off credit card debt, map your current income and expenses. Even if it means updating your existing budget or drafting a new one, you have to find ways to save a considerate part of your income and then use it in credit card debt payoff.
You cannot map out your income or expenses by drawing air bubbles. Take a pen and paper and jot everything down—this is a part the author personally dreaded the most when he was learning how to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt, but once those numbers are on the sheet, the truth is on paper.
And that is when we understand how deep our heads inside the debt-water are.
We aren’t telling you to leave your guilty pleasures forever—just try it for a year and see for yourself.
3. Freeze your Card, like, literally
In earlier times, financial advisors consulted the cardholders to freeze their credit cards into a block of ice. We are not making this up; this was a legit DIY technique to stop people from using credit cards for impulse purchases.
The logic was simple, you freeze your card to a block of ice and when you have to use it, you take it out of the freezer and let it melt down. If you still feel like making the impulse purchase after it melts down, then go for it. But nine times out of ten you will come to your senses.
This might be a radicalized method to stop your card usage, but the best way to realize your dream of paying off credit card debt is to stop inheriting any more debt. Cutting the cards might work, but learning how to use credit cards responsibly would be a better, long term fix.
4. Considering HELOC for Credit Card Debt Payoff? Don’t!
Some of the most prolific of financial advisors shed a light on crucial nature of Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) in paying off your credit card debt with high interest. But don’t be fooled with all the glitz—we are talking about the roof over your head.
Your credit card debt comes under unsecured debt but your HELOC is secured against collateral—your house. If in near future you are forced to declare bankruptcy, not only will you lose your credit, but you’ll be barred from entering your own house.
Don’t pay off your credit card debt with your HELOC, no matter how big is the pile of debt debris on top of you. If it goes horribly wrong, you and your family might have to move out.
If you plan not to pay your credit card debts, the worst thing your credit card company would do is sue you against your credit. However, if your credit card debt is backed with your home sweet home, the bank won’t mind foreclosing it—leaving you and your family out in the cold.
If you are really considering the use of HELOC for paying off credit card debt, it would only make sense if doing so saves you a few G’s on interest. If you or your financial planner predicts bankruptcy in the near future, you have to step away from the HELOC right away.
5. Increase your Source of Income
If you believe in paying off your credit card debt fast, you have to find ways to increase the sources of income. In normal cases, reshuffling the budget and cutting some slack on all fours frees up enough money to pay a considerate amount of debt.
When you increase your earnings, it becomes easier for you to pay off your credit card debt. The easiest way to earn money is to get a part-time job. Now you can choose to work from home, something that whole of America is thriving on—thanks to the gig economy.
Here’s a list of best-paying part time jobs in your locality. Do remember that whatever money you cap from the credit cards; use it in your credit card debt payoff.
6. Roll the Snowball
Yes, we searched how to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt and the debt snowball was omnipresent. This debt payoff strategy of paying down credit cards with the lowest balances first frees up your finances by hefty margins.
Pay down a credit card with the lowest balance, once you are done with it, the amount you were paying into that card is free. Use that amount to pay off the next lowest balance in contention and continue doing so till you are free of credit card debt.
The debt snowball strategy is simple and it works almost every time.
7. & Gather the Snowflakes
Paying off credit card debt is not just about making humungous payments to your credit card provider till the day you die. You can almost pay $1000 worth of credit card debt every year if you follow the snowball technique.
Gather that daily spare change and put it in a piggy bank and deposit that spare change to your bank account at the end of each week. You would’ve wasted this money on stuff like bagels and coffee anyway. This ensures their prudent perusal to pay off credit card debt.
8. LAST RESORT: Credit Card Debt Settlement
If you are thinking “how to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt”, then we don’t feel you’d need something as drastic as credit card debt settlement. But we know a thing or two about credit card debts and how they go way beyond that amount.
Debt settlement hurts your credit, but it can be a commendable way to pay off your credit card debt if it goes way above what you can handle. Learn more about credit card debt settlement in our guide.
9. THE REAL LAST RESORT: Bankruptcy
It’s that shiny red button on your desk—one which triggers code red. That is what bankruptcy looks like. If you feel that it won’t be possible to pay your dues and financial turmoil is on the horizon, you can declare bankruptcy.
There are two types of bankruptcies, one of which will wipe off the most of your credit card debt. The other one will give you an opportunity to pay off your debt slowly and steadily.
These might sound like get-out-of-jail-free-cards, but they aren’t. Here’s what two types of bankruptcies look like:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: This bankruptcy wipes up the majority of your credit card debt but your credit report would be tarnished for 10 years as you won’t be paying that debt.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Many cardholders have a regular source of income, but it is not enough to pay off the debt. Hence, Chapter 13 bankruptcy would give you a chance to easily pay off credit card debt and this blotch will stay on your credit report for 7 years.
If you are wondering what happens once you declare bankruptcy, this bit might help you explain it all.
Debt payoff is tough. If you’ve been wondering how to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt (or any amount, for that matter) you’ve got to seek what you are actually trying to find—a life without debt. If you have your priorities straight, then self-introspection and realization should be enough to get pay off any amount of credit card debt. Don’t worry, it will hopefully not come to step #8 and #9!