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How to Potentially Save Thousands on Credit Card Interest Charges


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    I was terrible with money all throughout my 20's. Actually, I should say that I was terrible with debt all throughout my 20's. I didn't have a job that paid much, but I had expensive tastes and credit card companies were all too willing to offer me credit limits way higher than I could reasonably be expected to pay off in a timely manner. After years of paying the minimum required, I had racked up a considerable amount of debt and finally realized I needed to develop a plan to pay it down.

    I researched debt consolidation loans, but after doing the math I realized I would save money if I went about it a different route. Since I eventually had (and thankfully continue to have) a job that provides me a comfortable income, I decided to forgo a consolidation loan and pay off my two credit cards by paying the amount listed on my bill that said my debt would be paid off in (roughly) three years if I stuck with it.

    What I never thought much about during my 20's is that the minimum payment is woefully inadequate and would have taken me many decades to pay off my debts if I only stuck with that. However, every credit card bill has a chart that breaks down how long it will take you to pay off your debt if you only pay the minimum versus how much you need to pay each month to pay off your debt in (roughly) three years. It's usually a drastically (and I mean decades!) different length of time.

    This is the route I chose to go a little over four years ago and am now debt free. I also saved multiple thousands of dollars in interest by hunkering down and paying far more (but not an impossible) amount each month towards my debt.

    I fully understand that these are difficult times for many people where this simply isn't an option right now, but when things do get better and you find yourself able to pay more each month towards your credit card debt, consider reading over the information explaining how much you need to pay each month to pay off your debt in three years. It just might save you thousands in the long run.

    Has anyone else gone this route in paying down their debts? I know debt consolidation loans are quite popular, but I crunched the numbers, and this wound up being a better route for me personally.

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    Thanks for the tips! I agree that paying more than you owe each month is always the best way to go about it. I know it can be tough, especially for those who have expensive tastes, but the endgame is what should always be the most important. Then again, it's really important to enjoy things as well. I don't think it's healthy to be completely frugal with every single penny. Everyone should live a little. But if you're in debt and want out, the only way is to create a plan and stick with it. CC companies aren't your friend. Interest rates are awful. Pay down more each month than you owe and you'll be happier in the long run.
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    Its a really good, simple way to go about it. I have seen that 3 year plan on CC balances before too. You can also use online calculators, and play around with dates to tailor a plan to your situation. Let's say you want to get out of that debt in 2 years, or 1, or 5, you can change the variables and see exactly how much you need to pay each month to accomplish your goal.

    Here's a good, free online calculator for that:

    Credit Card Payoff Calculator

    Just put in your balance, your interest rate, and your desired months to payoff (like 12, 24, 60, etc) and it will tell you exactly how much you need to pay each month. Plus it will tell you how much in interest you will need up paying. Playing around with calculators like that can really teach you a lot about how interest works. At least it really did for me.