If you’re carrying any credit card balances, whether it’s $500 or $5,000, you’re wasting money, plain and simple. Every dollar you spend toward interest payments is one more dollar you could be using to strengthen your overall financial health. While tackling debt may seem like an insurmountable task, reducing and eliminating it is actually not all that hard. Here are seven fast and simple ways to help you eliminate credit card balances from your financial picture.
Drop Your Home Telephone Line
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 41% of Americans no longer own a home telephone. And you might not need one either. If you’re currently paying $40 per month for a landline, that’s an extra $480 you could be putting toward your credit card debts every year, if you were to rely solely on your mobile phone. If you feel the need to have a backup, try a product like netTALK DUO, a device that connects to your PC and traditional home telephone. You can purchase one online from various retailers for about $25, and basic service costs just $39.95 annually.
Cut Grocery Purchases
Start clipping coupons from the Sunday paper to save on groceries. If you own a smartphone, try apps like SavingStar and ibotta, as well. When you shop, use a pre-written list and stick to it. If you don’t need to go down a particular aisle in the store, avoid it to prevent impulse purchases. Sign up for the loyalty program at your grocer and you can often get discounts at checkout, and potentially additional coupons via postal mail, too.
Schedule a Home Energy Audit
Saving on home energy can be a tough nut to crack, especially since it’s such a broad category. However, you can let your energy provider do the legwork by scheduling a home audit. Many companies offer this service for free. A rep comes to your home, does a complete inspection and provides you with a list of the many ways to save—and a lot of them aren’t too costly or time-consuming to implement.
Eliminate Cable TV or Replace With Streaming Services
Cut the cord altogether if you don’t watch a lot of TV. If you like to watch certain shows, try a streaming service like Hulu Plus or Netflix. Both are available for less than $10 per month. They don’t offer live programming, though, so if you like to watch news or sporting events, you may want to think twice. In that case, drop down a tier or two on your channel lineup so you can pay less and still get the channels you enjoy watching.
Limit Personal Spending
Just because the iWatch hit the market and curved TVs are coming available doesn’t mean you have to buy them. If your current electronic devices are functioning well, keep any extra cash in your pocket and devote it to your balances. The same rule should apply to your wardrobe. If it still works well, avoid the urge to spend money on fancy new designs. You’ll have plenty of money to do this once you’re debt-free.
Do Your Own Chores
These days, you can outsource pretty much everything. People can do your grocery shopping for you, clean your home, run your errands, cut your grass, and even walk your dog. Skip the urge to pay for these things and do them on your own. You can save a bundle of cash—and use it to pay down your debts. As an added bonus, you can get some exercise in when performing many of these chores, as well.
Use Cash Back for Statement Credits Only
All the cash back you generate from your credit card use should be devoted solely to statement credits. The products and travel packages on offer are very often overpriced and, frankly, unnecessary. Use this perk to knock down your balances—it’s free money that can go a long way toward becoming debt-free.
Don’t fool yourself: No one is going to help you out of your credit card debt besides you. It’s your job, and you need to own it. Once you do, and you take some baby steps toward your eventual goal, you’re sure to find yourself adopting more of a money-saving mindset as a result. There are plenty of simple ways to solve your credit card balances, but if you don’t take that first step, you’ll never accomplish it.
What other simple ways do you know of to reduce credit card balances?
John Lindsay managed to get himself out of 5-figures in credit card debt and is currently working on building wealth for the long term. He writes and shares his advice for others in a similar position.