Eliminating Credit Card Debt
Posted January 2, 2021
For those with high-interest credit card debt, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a stressful situation even more challenging. But there is good news, too: According to Statistics Canada, Canada is making headway in job recovery . With many of us back on financial track, September is a good time to work on tackling credit card debt and improving credit. Here’s a two-step action plan that could work for you.
Step 1: Trade bad debt for good
High-interest credit card debt is hard to get out of. Once you fall into the pattern of carrying a balance, compound interest adds up fast. If you only pay the minimum each month, it can take years – or decades – to clear your debt.
This chart explains how a $1,000 credit card balance at an 18% annual percentage rate (APR) would take over five years to pay off, assuming no additional purchases are made.
But let’s say you’re in greater debt than $1,000. This Forbes article identifies some strategies for paying off a significant amount of credit card debt, such as: tackling credit cards one at a time; transferring high-interest balances onto a 0% APR credit card and chipping away at the balance before the 0% promo rate ends; or, finally, clearing them once and for all via credit card debt consolidation.
The latter is the solution we recommend, and here’s why:
If you own your own home, you can use your equity to restructure your mortgage. Let’s say you have $20,000 in credit card debt. If it’s time for your mortgage renewal (or if you consider mortgage refinancing), you could take out $20,000 in home equity and have it added to your mortgage. This allows you to clear that high-interest credit card debt immediately, replacing it with one affordable monthly mortgage payment at today’s record low mortgage rates.
You’ll end up paying less interest each month and can devote more of your income to savings or investments while paying off your mortgage sooner.
Step 2: Make more money
The second piece to this strategy is income. Don’t use your home as a piggy bank. Sure, real estate tends to appreciate over time, but you won’t make headway on your mortgage if you get into a cycle of racking up credit card debt followed by dipping into your home equity to clear it.
If you find yourself carrying a credit card balance on a regular basis, you’re spending more money than you make . This is a common problem with two solutions:
One is to spend less .
The other is to earn more. Think: side hustle. Make a few extra bucks each month and you’ll be able to pay for those extras you used to put on plastic.
Take dog walking – just four walks a week at $25 per walk translates into an extra $400 a month.
Not into dogs? What about house-sitting cats?
Or virtual tutoring?
The point is, a steady side hustle can bring in cold hard cash and if you dedicate those funds to your expenditures – or better yet, towards ramping up your mortgage payments – you’ll reach your goals sooner than relying on your main income alone.
Bonus: All the ideas above are social-distancing friendly, by the way!
Want to learn more about debt consolidation? Contact 8Twelve Mortgage for solutions tailored to your unique needs.