The pandemic really took a toll on everyone. On a financial aspect, it forced a lot of us to look into our spending habits and savings too! I, for one, realized the importance of eliminating my bad debts! That’s why I’m so proud to share that I was able to fully pay off credit card debts last year!
I was bleeding money because I had so many credit cards to pay! Not the best way to live! Pandemic or not.
Got some credit card debts you also want to pay off in full? Read on as I talk about how I was able to pay off my credit card debts.
How I Used Credit Cards
I was careless about using my credit cards when I was in my 20s. Find a nice pair of shoes at the mall? Swipe! Treat my friends to a fancy restaurant I can’t afford to pay with cash? No problem. Just swipe! The craziest thing I did was go on a shopping spree. I was feeling very sad and thought I’d do retail therapy. I was about to lose my main source of income then too!
In my early 30s, I found myself with more and higher expenses. Before the pandemic hit, I travelled often. I charged not only flight tickets and accommodation on my credit card but also new wardrobe that I would wear on my trip. I also signed up for a gym membership and charged not only my monthly membership fee there but also personal training sessions.
My 2020 Financial Struggle
I remember that Dad used to lecture me about credit cards. He said it was a big responsibility. He was right!
Looking at my expenses and my income, I became alarmed at how fast money was going out of my hands. I knew I had to change my ways.
When the pandemic happened, my company’s revenues were badly affected and I took a pay cut. I was very anxious at the thought that bills kept on coming but my income was suddenly not the same.
While I know I can skip paying off my credit cards completely, it was never an option I wanted to consider. In case you’re wondering, what happens to unpaid credit card debt in the Philippines, well, you won’t go to jail. It’s not a criminal offense. It would, however, really hurt your credit score as well as your chances of getting approved for loans or a new credit card again.
10 Strategies I Used in Paying Credit Card Debt
Last year, I decided to really get out of debt. Last month, I’m proud to say I really made significant progress by being able to successfully pay off my credit card debts!
Do you want to know how to get rid of your credit card debt? Read on below as I share how I managed to do so.
1. I left my credit cards at home
The first thing I did to finally start paying off credit card debts in full was to leave them at home. That way, I wouldn’t be able to do some impulse shopping when I’m out. Every swipe would mean adding to my debt.
2. I unlinked my credit cards from my online shopping accounts
Online shopping is still a temptation. To avoid falling prey, I unlinked all my credit card accounts from my shopping apps.
3. I started paying in cash
4. I started a side hustle
I also started selling some of my stuff online. I used Carousell PH . I posted on Facebook Marketplace. I even joined a few Facebook selling groups. I sold books. I sold household items. Anything I thought was useful and in good condition, I sold.
I also started selling mobile phone load via Coins.ph which helped me get 10% rebate for every purchase. My creative outlet, blogging, also started to pay off. I landed some sponsored posts.
All the money I got from these went to paying off my credit cards.
5. I loaned from SSS
As a member of the social security program, I’m entitled to loans like calamity and salary. I availed these to help me make a significant payment on my credit card debts.
The loans are payable on an installment basis, deducted monthly by my employer. It’s also small enough that it wouldn’t hurt my wallet more.
6. I used my Christmas bonuses
November or December is when employees are given their 13th month pay. December is also a time when you can get additional bonuses. Luckily for me, I still received 13th month pay and some additional bonus.
7. I wrote down the amount of debt I owed
I was a little scared to be honest to find out the total amount I really owed. I never paid much attention to my statement of accounts before. Just the parts I deemed important: minimum required payment and due date.
Finally, I wrote it down on my planner: total amount I owed and how much I paid. I did that every month until I could pay off every cent. It was so helpful and motivating when I see the progress I made with my debts.
8. I paid more than the minimum amount
I realized too that when I pay just a minimum amount, it mostly goes to interest! It was not helping me get out of debt much! So as much as possible, I now pay more than the minimum payment required by the bank.
9. I availed rebates using my reward points
Every time we use our credit cards, we rack up reward points on it that can be redeemed for gift checks, travel rewards or cash rebates. I never bothered before with my reward points because I didn’t like picking up the phone to call my credit card company. I was glad I finally got myself to call though because I was avail to avail cash rebates from my points that helped with my card payments.
10. I collected money from people who owed me
I lent money to a trusted few in the past and had been lax in collecting back money owed. But every cent could help pay off my credit card debt so I collected and put it as additional payment.
Considering 2020 was a tough year financially for me, I consider being able to pay off my credit cards in full to be a very big feat!
It’s so nice to know that my salary now doesn’t all have to go credit card payments. I’m not out of the woods completely. I still have a couple more to pay off but at least now I can increase my savings and invest a bit more.
Will I never use credit cards again? Not really. Owning one can still come in handy. It’s easier to pay for really big ticket items with one! I just have to be a more responsible credit card holder.