According to a January 2023 poll by GOBankingRates, which posed the question, “How long do you think it will take you to pay off your credit card debt?” 26% thought it would take six to 10 years to pay it off — and 64% of those who answered this were women. This poll result is a sobering reminder of the financial challenges women face compared to their male counterparts. Because women are disproportionately affected by wage disparities in the workplace, they’re less likely to have disposable income to pay down credit card debt.
If you’re a single woman with significant credit card debt, you may feel discouraged and overwhelmed by your financial situation. But don’t despair. This article will provide tips on how you can attack credit card debt and get on a path toward a better financial future.
Try the Snowball or Avalanche Method
If you’re drowning in credit card debt, consider trying the snowball or avalanche method — two popular debt-repayment strategies to help you get out of debt quickly.
Here’s how the snowball method works: You pay off the credit card with the smallest balance first while you continue to make the minimum payments on the other cards. Once the balance on the smallest account is zero, take the money you were using to pay it off toward the credit card with the next-lowest balance. Then, rinse and repeat until all balances are down to zero.
Another way to tackle credit card debt is by using the avalanche method. Here’s how it works: You pay off the account with the highest rate first while continuing to make the minimum payments on the other cards. Once that credit card is paid off in full, allocate the funds you used for it toward the card with the next-highest interest rate. Repeat until you’ve paid off all your credit cards.
Consider Consolidating Your Debt
Paying off multiple credit cards can be overwhelming. Consider consolidating your debt by taking out a debt-consolidation loan — a personal loan that allows you to combine your debts into one payment with a lower interest rate than your credit cards offer. Debt consolidation could save you serious cash in the long run. Plus, it’s much easier to keep track of your finances when you’re only paying one loan instead of several different credit card payments.
So, if you’re struggling to stay on top of your credit card payments, look into debt-consolidation loans. Just be sure to perform your due diligence and compare rates across multiple lenders to find the best deal.
Apply For a Balance-Transfer Credit Card
Another way to alleviate the burden of credit card debt is by applying for a balance-transfer credit card. With a balance-transfer credit card, you can move debt from an unaffordable credit card to one with a low APR and no fees.
What’s more, most balance-transfer credit cards offer a 0% APR during the introductory period, sometimes up to 21 months — giving you breathing room to pay off your debt and save on interest.
Note that to be eligible for a balance-transfer card, you’ll typically need a good or excellent credit score (670 and above). If you have a less-than-ideal FICO score, you could still tackle your credit card debt using the other methods in this article.
Avoid Racking Up New Debt
Paying down your existing debt will become even more challenging if you accrue more each month from additional purchases. So, unless it’s an emergency and can’t be avoided, don’t rack up new debt and add more to your plate when you’re in debt repayment mode. Instead, ditch the plastic and opt for cash or debit cards.
Also, if you want to chip away at your debt as quickly as possible, limit impulse purchases and stick to a strict budget. Consider using budgeting apps to see where your money is going each month so you can stay on track financially.
Consistency Is Key
As a single woman with one income, tackling high-interest credit card debt can be daunting. But don’t give up. At first, it may seem like you’re making no progress, but as long as you use the right debt-repayment strategy and stay consistent, you will see your hard work pay off over time. And soon enough, you’ll look back and marvel at all you’ve accomplished!
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