Monday Motivation – How I Paid Off $14,000 in Credit Card Debt in One Year

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creditcarddebt Digging yourself out of credit card debt is never easy, but it absolutely can be done. Take it from me, someone who once had over $14,000 in credit card debt; someone who also paid off the entire balance in less than a year.

How did I do it?

Looking back at my debt payoff journey, there isn’t one specific “get out of debt” trick or tip I can pinpoint. What worked for me was having a variety of approaches coupled with a steely determination to get to that glorious $0.00 balance.

If you’re struggling to pay off your own debt, you may be interested in learning about what worked for me:

1. Get your head out of the sand. The first step I took was to finally add up all of my credit balances. It was a cold, hard reality to see the total sum because it was far easier to just
think ‘$3K here, $2K there; no worries!’ I faced my debt head-on, and I made a plan to get rid of
it once and for all.

2. Save the ice for your water glass. This is one experts might not agree with—I did NOT put my credit cards on ice. In fact, I continued to use them. What was different was that I wasn’t using them to dig myself deeper into debt; I was using them to save money on interest and fees…

3. Play the game. I saved myself hundreds of dollars in interest by playing Balance Transfer Roulette. I found $0 and 0% balance transfer offers and I transferred my balances to those
cards. The key to making this game work is to pay off the cards before the transfer terms expire.
You must stay disciplined and organized.

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4. Believe in yourself. Your number one ally in this fight is yourself. Having faith that you will zero out your balances helps to keep you on track and moving forward. If you give up on your repayment efforts, you’re only giving up on yourself—you can do this!

5. Find a way to bring in extra $$. I’m not a fan of cutting back too much because that can lead to premature burnout. Yes, you can comfortably cut your expenses and funnel those savings
towards your debt. You can also be creative about bringing in extra money. In the year I worked
to pay off my credit card debt, I worked 5-6 jobs. There was one full-time job, one part-time
position and a slew of side gigs that helped me eradicate the total balance. Think outside the
box and put your passions/hobbies to work for you.

As you work hard to clear your debt, remember that your credit score is also at stake. Having balances that are too close to or over your credit limit can wreak as much havoc as making late payments. Bit by bit, as you chip away, keep apprised of how you can reap the rewards of the great credit that is in your future: Lower interest rates, better loan terms and so much more!

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Jen is the owner of The Happy Homeowner, where she writes about living a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Previously, she paid off $14K in credit card debt in less than a year and hasn’t looked back since. Follow along on Twitter with her financial, fitness and travel adventures @bthhomeowner!