Hey 2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
There are plenty of reasons this year in particular — a lost job, illness or sheer boredom — could have left you racking up expenses.
Let the promise of a new year come with a renewed resolve to rid yourself of pricy credit card debt. Check out these options for what you can do about your credit cards as we head into 2021.
What to Do About Your Credit Card Debt Before 2021
Wherever you are on your debt journey — from needing a little help to wanting to cut up all your credit cards (don’t do that… yet), we’re here to help you tackle your credit card debt before the new year hits. Here’s what you can do.
Use the Debt Lasso Method to Pay Off Debt Faster
Ready to wrangle in that credit card debt? Consider the debt lasso method.
Developed by David Auten and John Schneider, also known as the Debt Free Guys, the debt lasso method involves corralling your high-interest debt into a low-interest one so you can pay down the principal balance more quickly — and for less money.
Auten and Schneider told us all about the debt lasso in this interview. They noted who it can help the most — and who shouldn’t use it.
Break Up With Plastic
If you’re over plastic completely at this point, should you cancel your credit card? Maybe.
There are plenty of reasons to keep a credit card open — including building your credit history, which can help raise your credit score. But there’s also a strong argument why you should close an account: You don’t trust yourself not to overspend.
If you are ready to give up plastic completely, how can you cancel it the right way — you know, so you don’t get socked with unexpected fees or discover three months later that the number’s been stolen?
Here’s our guide to canceling a credit card.
Stop Using Your Credit Cards — Safely
If you aren’t quite ready to cut your cards up into a million tiny pieces but just want to stop using them — and maybe use this time to pay off debt — we’re big fans of becoming less reliant on plastic.
However, iIf you aren’t using your credit cards at all, the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind could wind up landing you in financial trouble — think lower credit scores due to inactivity and potential fraud.
To protect yourself from the dangers of an unused credit card, follow these safeguards.
Ask for Help
Maybe you’re just in a tight spot — you’re having trouble making payments because of a sudden job loss or family emergency. Before spiraling into credit card debt, take a deep breath. Then ask for help.
The first call you should make is to your credit card company. Many are offering credit card hardship programs, along with deferments and extensions.
Never heard of such a program? That’s not a surprise — credit card companies don’t typically advertise that you can adjust your payment plan or even stop paying your bill for a while.
Here’s how a credit card hardship program could help you when times get tough.
And here’s hoping for a healthier, happier and debt-free 2021.
Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers nationwide to make smart decisions with their money through actionable and inspirational advice, and resources about how to make, save and manage money.