If you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards, you’re probably looking for the tricks to paying off credit cards. That’s a wise decision!
Credit card debts are a huge burden for many Canadians today.
In fact, according to recent research, the average Canadian owes $73,532 in credit card debt.
If you’re one of them, it’s time to look for the top tricks to paying off credit cards fast. But you don’t have to panic!
Here I share the best tricks to pay off your credit cards faster.
These are the tricks I’m using, and those that I see yield positive results for others.
So, at the end of this post, you should know how to use the various tricks to paying off credit cards.
15 Real-Life Tricks to Paying Off Credit Cards
It’s tough to pay off debt. No matter how much you make, somehow, the bills still seem to add up.
Based on my personal experience and what I’ve seen work for others… here are the 15 top tricks to paying off credit cards fast:
1. Do an Intensive Credit Card Statement Audit
An audit of your credit card statement is the first step in getting your credit card debt under control.
You need to know exactly what is going on in your finances. You need to understand what takes most of your money.
Let me share with you an experience with a friend of mine (She gave her consent to her story being shared). For privacy reasons, we will call her Sharon Jones.
So, here is Sharon’s situation:
Sharon lives in Toronto and earns $7,793 monthly (after taxes). While her husband, Duke, earns $6,506 monthly as well. They have 2 children, 2pets and 2 cars.
Between Sharon and her husband, they bring in about $14,299 to their home monthly.
Yet, they have a credit card family debt of $18,500.
Yeah… you read that right… Even though they earn six figures, they are still in debt…
Best believe that that is the reality of a lot of high-income earners in Canada.
Sharon has always attributed this debt to the high cost of living in Toronto. But a thorough financial audit showed a different thing.
We checked Sharon and Deck’s bills and credit card statements for the 12 months preceding that time. And we grouped their spending into two categories- essential and great-to-have.
Let’s look at a snapshot of their expenses:
Great-to-have (but not essential)
Comments & Actionable Insights
Mortgage & Housing Expenses
Housing spending is not too extreme, even though it’s above the standard 32% benchmark.
Sharon’s Cell Phone
Duke’s Cell Phone
Phone / Internet / Cable Bundle
Child’s Cell Phone
Subscriptions such as:
Netflix, Crave, Disney Plus, YoutubeTV
Xbox Game, Playstation
Car remote starter for both Sharon & Duke
Dropbox cloud storage for both Sharon & Duke
Utility spending is too high. Ideally, it shouldn’t exceed 5% of their combined income.
Subscriptions should be reduced. Why have so many videos and music subscriptions if there is the cable?
Consider cutting off the car remote starter for both Sharon & Duke.
Consider cutting off child’s cell phone costs. Why have a mobile phone when there’s a landline in the home
Food & Personal Grooming
Feeding for Pets
Basic Personal Care & Grooming for Duke, Kids and Pets
Meal kit plans
Sharon’s biweekly Manicure & monthly pedicure
Spa visit every month
Biweekly brow care
Haircare every month
Spending is too high in this category, and it shouldn’t exceed 20% of their combined income.
This family spends a lot of money on meal kits.
Sharon needs to reduce her monthly expenses on hair and body grooming
Vehicle Loan Payments
Transportation costs look reasonable, but there are opportunities to save money.
For the family
Toys and clothing for pets
Spending is too high in this category, and it shouldn’t exceed 5% of their combined income.
Eye & Dental care
Extended Health Insurance premium
Even though this is higher than the recommended 3%, this type of spending is sensitive and personal.
The best way forward is to shop for core affordable insurance plans that will cover their eye and dental needs.
Coding Class for child
Dance Class for child
School supplies for Children
Bank Fees / Safety Deposit Box
Work lunches for both Sharon & Duke
Weekly eating out Date for Sharon & Duke
Buying Coffee / Snacks / Drinks
Entertainment (e.g. Movies, Event Tickets, Social Activities)
Travel / Vacations
Gifts / Special Occasions
Donations / Charitable / Planned Giving
Laundry / Dry Cleaning
Recreation (e.g. Sports Equipment & Fees, Activities)
Spending is too high in this category, and it shouldn’t exceed 10% of their combined income.
There are many leakages in their finances, e.g. Sharon and Duke can save money on coffees and snacks, work lunches, eat-out dates, and associated babysitting costs.
Also, they can look into more affordable travel and vacation plans.
In fact, there are lots of opportunities to save money in this category.
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
Sharon's Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
Duke's Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
Sharon and Duke clearly do not save enough, given how much they earn. Under normal circumstances, the minimum budget they should have in this category is 10% of their income. But right now, investing should not be their MAIN priority until their credit card debt is paid.
Interest rate: 12.99
Monthly Payment: 112
Interest rate: 19.99
Monthly Payment: 143
Interest rate: 19.99
Monthly Payment: 263
Interest rate: 21.99
Monthly Payment: 115
Interest rate: 24.99
With Susan and Duke making minimum payments, they use a little over 5% of their income to service their debt.
Assuming they do not take on more debts and keep paying minimum payments, it will take them 12 years and 9 months to pay off this Debt.
Many people in Canada can understand what Sharon and Duke are experiencing. After all, if you work hard, it’s really not bad if you desire the finer things of life.
We want to live our dreams, give our children the best, and buy comfort for ourselves.
However, with the high-income tax paid in Canada, coupled with the high standard of living in Toronto… it’s impossible to maintain this kind of lifestyle.
This lifestyle always comes at a cost, and that cost is debt.
So, one of the tricks to paying off credit cards is to sit down with your finance… most especially those monster credit card statements.
Then, objectively make a list of your essential and non-essential expenses.
After making your list, look for unnecessary expenses you can eliminate or any areas to save more money.
The goal here is to understand your actual essential and non-essential needs.
For example, food, housing, and clothing are your essential needs. But subscription services, entertainment, and eating out are your non-essential needs.
2. Get Ready to Pay More Than the Monthly Payment
Paying more than the monthly requirement is one of the top tricks to paying off credit cards fast.
Always remember that banks don’t lend you money because they love you. NO!
In fact, their goal is to make as much money as possible from you while you service your debt.
In the case of my friend -Sharon, If she and her partner continued to make minimum payments… it would take them 12 years and 9 months to pay off the $18,500… and they would have paid $12,815 in interest only.
Therefore, aim to pay more than the monthly requirement to reduce your credit card debt.
Paying more than the minimum will save you money that you should have paid in interest. It will also reduce the amount of time it will take to pay off your debt.
Always bear in mind that the longer you stick to paying the monthly minimum, the longer you service your debt and the better for the bank.
3. Stop Investing for Now
Yes, suspending investment is one of the tricks to paying off credit cards.
Even though it’s good to save, saving might not be a great idea for anyone with credit card debt.
Think about it, don’t you think it makes no sense to invest in a portfolio that will yield 8% annual interest while you have a 12.99% – 24.99% interest.
Therefore, you should pay off your credit cards before you start investing. After all, once you are in debt, the best thing to do is get out of it as quickly as possible.
However, it’s not advisable to stop paying your mortgage and car loans since they’re secured debt with low-interest rates.
Sharon and Duke had been investing $500 a month for the past 2 years. $300 in their children’s RESP and $100 each into their TFSAs.
So, they retained their children’s RESP plans and continued to invest in their children’s funds.
However, they stopped saving into their TFSAs and instead diverted the funds towards paying down their debt.
4. Keep a Minimal Emergency Fund ($1000 – $2000)
An emergency fund helps you save money for the future in case of any unfortunate occurrence.
Even though we want to get you out of debt, the reality is that life happens, and sometimes unexpected events beyond your control occur.
During these times, paying off credit card debt will become even trickier than it seems if you don’t have an emergency fund. Therefore, you still need that rainy day fund.
Even though we have agreed that you should use your savings to pay down your credit card debt, these tricks to paying off credit cards need to be executed well.
Therefore, before you use all your savings to pay down your debt, please ensure you have between $1000to $2000 in your emergency fund.
Since Sharon and Duke had been saving $100 each into their TFSAs for over 2 years, they had about $5,400 in total in their TFSAs.
So, they both retained $1000 each in their account, and they used the remaining $3,400 to pay down their credit card debt.
5. Create a Get-Out-of-Debt (GOOD) Budget
Designing a budget that you can stick to is the most effective way to attain freedom from credit card debt.
I bet you know that already, just like everyone knows, it’s great to have a budget. In fact, a lot of people have at one time, or the other made one.
But the problem is people hardly ever stick to their budget.
Sharon and Duke definitely made a budget, but they never followed through on it.
Because of that little slip, they were spending over $2000 of money they didn’t have. Yes, you read that right. They spent more than they earned.
That would mean that maintaining the same lifestyle would never take them out of debt. In fact, they were potentially going deeper into their debt.
So, let’s talk about the GOOD budget and how it is a powerful strategy and a trick to paying off credit cards.
The GOOD budget, in simple terms, is a custom budget that is specifically made to get you out of debt. It is meant to be simple and sustainable.
The amount of money you need to commit to paying off your debt will be determined by your GOOD budget.
Once you have the complete picture of your essentials and non-essentials, you can create an intervention budget that will help you pay off your debt fast.
Be objective in your financial planning and re-allocation, stay true to yourself, and build a GOOD budget that you are more likely to stick to. Then stick to it.
Like in the case of Sharon and Duke, after we completed the GOOD strategy, and also accounted for the money they stopped saving to their TFSA… we had about 14% of their income freed up, and these funds were used to pay off ALL of their debt in 1 year.
6. Create a Debt Management Strategy
Your credit card debt is probably not going to go away by itself. Getting out of debt quickly and taking control of your finances must be done.
Now that you have followed steps one to five, you would have now freed up some cash. So, what is the next strategy or tricks to paying off credit cards? You require a plan.
Creating a debt management strategy will give you the roadmap on how best to stay off debt.
There are three major types of debt management strategies. These are:
Snowball is the process of paying your lowest loan as much as possible while making a minimum payment on all your debts. This is regardless of the interest rate.
This method helps you to swiftly clear your small credit card debts to focus on the large ones.
Let’s consider Sharon’s case as an example. She and her husband had 5 cards between them with balances of $2798, $3569, $6586, $2872, and $2685.
If you were Susan and you wanted to use the Snowball method, you would focus on paying down your card with the lowest balance of $2685.
The Avalanche method is the process of paying your debts with the highest interest rates. This is alongside making your minimum payment on all your other debts.
This method can save you a lot in interest charges and help you get out of debt fast.
Using Susan’s family as an example again, the interest rates on their cards are 12.99%, 19.99%, 19.99%, 21.99%, 24.99%.
If you were Susan and wanted to use the Avalanche method, you would focus on paying down your card with the highest interest rate of 24.99%.
Whether you’re dealing with a car loan, several credit cards, or both, it can be challenging to manage multiple debts.
Consolidating all your debts into one loan eases monthly payments and reduces the interest rate.
You can consolidate your debt through:
- Credit card with low interest: Switching your existing high-interest rate credit card balance to a new card with a lower interest rate can help you more easily pay off your debt.
- Debt consolidation loan: A debt consolidation loan or credit card consolidation loan helps you refinance your multiple debts with a single loan.
- Line of credit: Using a line of credit from your bank to pay off credit card debt is a cost-effective alternative. By consolidating all your debt with a low-interest loan, you can be able to clear off your debt in no time.
- HELOC: Home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a loan that helps you pay off your credit cards using your home equity. While this option is the most effective, it can be hazardous. You should access it only when you have a large debt and are disciplined enough to stick to the repayment plan.
7. Buy a Term Life Insurance
Buying life insurance is also among the tricks to paying off credit cards fast.
Have you ever thought of getting life insurance? If not, it’s time you do so. Life insurance is one of the most beneficial investments you can make to protect your family.
Why is this relevant, you may ask? Well, the truth is anything can happen. And if you died while in debt, your loved ones might be asked to pay.
So, the only way to protect your family is to buy term life insurance so that if you die while still indebted, your beneficiary can use the payout to pay your debt and mortgage.
This singular act might be the sexiest love language of the 21st century.
So buy an affordable term life insurance to protect your family against any financial challenge in the future should you pass away with too much debt.
8. Seek Credit Card Debt Help
Seeking credit card help is one of the tricks to paying off credit cards fast.
If you find it challenging to manage your credit card debt, it is time to consult a credit card counselor.
He or she will reach out to your creditors and work out a repayment plan in your favor.
Consequently, you don’t have to worry about additional interest on your credit card loans.
9. Get Debt Relief
If your debt is damaging your credit score, hurting your ability to get a loan, impacting your job, and costing you more money in interest and penalties. It’s time to get debt relief.
Debt relief refers to the process of reducing or refinancing your debt to make repayment easier.
This includes debt forgiveness, interest reduction, or low-interest debt consolidation.
So you should consider debt relief as one of the tricks to paying off credit cards.
10. Have an Accountability Partner
Having an accountability partner is one of the best tricks to paying off credit cards fast.
Mentoring and sponsorship are effective ways to help you change your spending habits!
Having someone that supports and roots for you will encourage you to think twice about making big purchases.
Pick someone you trust to be your accountability partner. This may be a friend, a mentor, or a family member.
The important part is that they hold you responsible for the payoff of your credit card debt and managing your expenses.
Thus, focus all your time and resources on paying off your credit cards. This will save you costs and reduce the duration of your debt.
11. Create Additional Streams of Income
If you are considering paying off your credit cards and do not have any stable income streams… you have to look for other means to generate additional cash flow.
Paying off credit cards is not an impossible task, but it could be tricky unless you are very organized. You can pay off your debt faster by creating additional streams of income.
Thankfully, there are different side hustles out there you can engage in creating additional income. This includes taking online surveys, freelancing, torturing, coaching, etc.
So creating additional means should be one of your tricks to paying off credit cards.
12. Be Realistic about Yourself
One of the real-life tricks to paying off credit cards is to be realistic with yourself. If you are not, you will be disappointed.
If you’re like me, you hate that credit card bill at the end of the month or making those minimum payments. To make it worse, if you don’t stay on top of your cards, they will quickly spiral out of control.
Using the case of Susan and Duke, you can see that they were committing just a little over 5% of their income to service their debt.
This is one of the unrealistic tricks to paying off credit cards since it will take them more than 12years to pay off their current debt.
So you need to be realistic to yourself and your situation. Know how much time and money you can put towards paying them off.
It might not always be fun. But knowing how much you have to pay is better than the stress and headache you get from ignoring them.
13. Stop Using Your Credit Card
If you spend a lot, it is to use your credit card for every purchase. However, to pay off your credit card faster, you need to know when to stop using your credit card.
You can save a lot of money by simply not using your credit card anymore.
At some points, Susan and Duke had to stop using their credit cards to avoid the temptation of getting into more debt.
To be on the safer side, switch your transactions to cash. By doing so, you will overcome the temptation of accumulating debt on your credit card.
14. Be Consistent
Consistency is one of the top tricks to paying off credit cards.
It can be a challenge to pay down debt. It takes consistency and discipline.
I’ve been there, and I know how it feels. When I realized my credit card was at $5,000, the highest it had ever been, I freaked out at that point in my life.
But I later realized that the key is consistency. I was committed to my monthly payment, and before I knew it, I’m debt-free.
Susan and Duke later become debt-free by following a customized debt management strategy consistently.
You can also do the same.
15. Consider Credit Card Debt Bankruptcy
Instead of suffering long-term consequences and ending up owing more, consider filing a credit card debt bankruptcy as one trick to paying off credit cards.
But this should be your last option.
Several debts are difficult to handle. Among the most complicated is credit card debt.
You may be better off filing for bankruptcy in some situations. This will help you receive a fresh financial slate with your credit card debt cleared.
However, before filing for credit card debt bankruptcy, ensure it is your last option.
Because filing a bankruptcy in Canada will make you lose your non-exempt assets in exchange for the discharge of your debts.
Also, a bankruptcy record will be on your credit report for 6 or 7 years on the first bankruptcy. The record will be on your credit report for 14 years on a second bankruptcy.
What is a Credit Card Debt?
Before understanding the top tricks to pay off credit cards, it’s important to understand the meaning of credit card debt.
Credit card debt is exactly what it sounds like: borrowing money on credit cards.
Therefore, credit card debt is a type of consumer debt you owe to creditors for goods, services, or other forms of credit.
Furthermore, credit card debt is a form of unsecured debt and represents money you borrow using a credit card.
A credit card debt can have long-term financial consequences, especially if it becomes difficult to pay off.
This is due to difficulty repaying the outstanding balance on time, minimum monthly payments, or high-interest rates.
So, if you’re in such a situation, it’s time to use the various tricks to paying off credit cards fast.
Why is Credit Card Debt So Dangerous?
No doubt, credit card debt is helpful in many ways. It helps you achieve things that you couldn’t have achieved otherwise. Even more, it wipes your sorrows during an emergency.
But I’m not going to lie to you here. Credit card debt is so dangerous.
Based on my personal experience, the following are the reasons you need to consider the top tricks to paying off credit cards:
1. It Reduces Your Credit Score
Your credit score is an important part of your finances. Without it, you may not qualify for loans, leases and other forms of credit.
Thus, credit card debt makes that worse because high credit card balances damage your score.
Consequently, it will affect your chances of borrowing money as well as the interest rate you are required to pay.
2. Interest Rate Increase
Your credit score determines the interest rate you pay on loans. When you want to take a loan, credit companies check your credit score to make a decision.
So a high credit score makes you eligible for lower interest rates, and larger credit limits on credit cards and loans.
It also makes you eligible for better mortgage terms, cheaper insurance rates, and better job offers.
But if your score is low, then borrowing money could become expensive.
3. Collection Agents Disturbance
If your credit card payment is overdue, without warning, one or more collection agents may show up at your house.
Some collection agents use harassing or illegal tactics when trying to collect a debt.
Accordingly, they can choose to be disturbing with calls at work and even bother your family at home.
Which of the Tricks to Paying Off Credit Cards is Right for You?
If you’re not sure which of the above tricks of paying off credit cards is right for you, we’re here to help you.
Even if we can’t handle your case, we will refer you to a trusted organization to help you choose one of the top tricks to pay off credit cards.
So feel free to reach out to us by filling out this form. You will get a quick real-time analysis of the option that’s right for you.
Summary of the Tricks to Paying Off Credit Cards
There you have them, the tricks to paying off credit cards.
At some point in life, we have found ourselves in a situation where we have to borrow money to survive.
Therefore, debt is part of our lives. But the most important thing is to get out of debt as soon as possible.
The above are the top tricks to paying off credit cards worldwide.
As you’ve learned from the case of my friend Susan and her husband, it took the intervention of a customized debt management strategy to get them debt-free.
Thus, don’t be shy to seek help about which of the above tricks to paying off credit cards is right for you.
Hopefully, you now have some relief on how to go about paying off your credit card debt faster.
So let me know which of the above tricks to paying off credit cards suits you in the comment section.
But if you’re having difficulty choosing among the top tricks to paying off credit cards, don’t hesitate to contact us.
FAQs on the Tricks to Paying Off Credit Cards
Is it Better to Pay Off a Line of Credit Or Credit Card?
It is better to pay off both a line of credit and a credit card. But if you want to prioritize, consider paying off your credit card first.
This is because a credit card has a high-interest rate compared to a line of credit.
Is it Smart to Get a Loan to Pay Off Credit Card Debt?
Yes. Although using debt to pay off debt may seem counterproductive. But using a loan or a line of credit to pay off credit card debt might be a smart financial move.
This is because a line of credit has a low-interest rate and repayment flexibility.
Will Getting a Personal Loan to Pay Off Credit Cards Hurt My Credit?
Yes, when you make a late payment, a personal loan can hurt your credit when reported to the credit bureaus.
Thus, it is important to meet your monthly payment. Or get help from a credit card counselor when you can’t.
If you’ve more questions on the above tricks to paying off credit cards, let me know in the comment section.
Hi, I'm Adeola Adegoke. I am a licensed Insurance Broker in Manitoba, and I hold a master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences (with a major in Financial Modeling) from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Tanzania.
Also, I have a second master's degree in Statistics from the University of Regina, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Manitoba.
The primary purpose of Money Reverie is to help everyday Canadians make better financial decisions by providing up-to-date financial news and information, reports, product reviews, and government programs.