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Man being crushed by credit cardIn some cases, credit card debt is avoidable. For example, if you went on a mall spending spree just because you wanted a bunch of new clothes, that probably wouldn’t be the most responsible thing to do. In other cases, such as making necessary car or home repairs, there’s nothing you can do. For whatever reason, if you currently find yourself in credit card debt up to your nose, don’t worry. There are steps you can take to get your debt under control. Check them out!

Add Up Your Total Credit Card Debt

Sit down and add up what you owe on all of your credit cards. Take a look at your interest rate for each card and the monthly amount due for each. If any of your cards have annual fees associated with them, such as rewards cards, make note of those, too. After you come up with the total figure, don’t panic. Remember, this is only the first step in getting back on your feet.

Assess Your Budget

Do you dine out four times a week? Is your cable bill ridiculously high because you pay extra for movie or sports packages? Are you paying a boatload of money for a gym membership that you haven’t used since you signed up for it? Some expenses are necessary. Many would agree the ones noted above are not. It’s important to make cuts where you can. Instead of dining out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, try grocery shopping. Do you really watch all 350 channels you pay for? The answer is probably not. Consider canceling the gym membership and working out at home. The more you save, the more you’ll be able to put towards your debt.

Negotiate New Rates

It all begins with a simple phone call to your credit card company. Even the slightest decrease in your interest rate can make the biggest difference. If you’re able to negotiate a point or two, it could save you hundreds. Your current credit score is a big determining factor in improving your rate. Even if your score isn’t great, it doesn’t hurt to try. If you’re able to lower any of your rates, take note of your new rates so you can adjust your budget accordingly.


If you have multiple credit cards, you have to determine how to attack paying them off. For example, say you have three cards. One has a high interest rate, one has a medium rate and the other has a low rate. Do you start paying off the one with the high rate first, while only making minimum payments on the other two? Do you pay off the card with the lowest rate, while only making minimum payments on the other two? If your goal is to pay off your debt as fast as possible, your best bet is to put as much as you can afford to the card with the highest rate and pay the minimum balance on the other two. Once you get the card with the highest rate taken care of, you’ll have more extra cash to put toward the other cards.

Pay with Cash

I get that this isn’t always possible. However, studies show that when a person is deciding on making a purchase, they’re likely to think twice about making the purchase if they’re paying in cash. With the easy swipe of a credit card and the ability to pay it off later, we sometimes forget that we still do in fact have to pay for the purchase out of our own pockets. In no way am I recommending that you cancel your credit cards – just use them in emergencies.

Debt Management Program

If you feel like you’re in over your head, consider taking part in a debt management program. Unlike when you negotiate a new rate, your credit score isn’t a factor when joining a program. You’ll enroll through a credit counseling agency under new terms with all your creditors. Once an agreement is made, you make one monthly payment, which is spread amongst your creditors.

Credit card debt can be stressful. However, if you follow the steps from above, you’ll be on your way to getting rid of some of your debt.

What other tips do you have for escaping credit card debt? Let us know in the comments below!

This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. You mention credit counseling when an individuals credit score is poor. Exactly what IS credit counseling? Also, you mention a non profit credit counseling service. How is that different from regular credit counseling, what is the advantage of a non profit, and how does one find a non profit?

    1. Hi Simba:

      Credit counseling is a service that includes someone sitting down with you to go over a plan to pay off your debts as well as strategies to help you stay out of debt in the future through prudent planning and budget management. They’ll also be able to give you tips on how to negotiate payback plans with creditors. The advantage of going with a nonprofit, is that there are low or no fees associated with the service. An Internet search should turn up options in your area. Here’s a post on credit consolidation. Thanks!

    1. That’s OK, Lori. We’ll be here if and when you would like to look into your mortgage options! Have a great day!

  2. We have a house worth about 50,000 more in equity but cannot refinance to pay off debts because of the bad credit our sons student loans have helped create. We are paying them a monthly agreed upon amount but they will not change our credit score until we are paying them the full monthly amount they want which is impossible for us to pay. Currently with all of our other cc and Bill’s we still are behind 1000.00 a month just in monthly bills. We pick certain ones each month to pay and then different ones the next month. My wife and I work full time jobs and work overtime. Some of the cc are working with us and have lowered their interest but the private student loans will not work with us. What can we do???? Please any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Troy:

      It sounds like you’ve done a lot of the basic things already. I think it would be helpful at this point to look into a credit counseling service. Try to find a nonprofit one in your area. I would see if they have any tips that they can apply to your situation. They would also have a full understanding of available debt relief and forgiveness options. I would work through this before looking at more drastic measures like bankruptcy. Good luck!

  3. I want to get a personal loan and just pay my debts off. Then I can start building my credit back up. I did have a good credit not perfect but it was good. I got behind because of some personal issues that have to be taken care of. I’m hoping you will understand and know I will pay you back because I don’t want to file bankruptcy and mess my credit up.

      1. I recently had to volunteerly turn a vehicle in to the financial institution. A dealership falsified information on an electronic application to qualify me for a vehicle I could not afford. I have GM Law Firm investigating the situation and also have Lexington law working on getting my credit rating back where it should be. High 600’s. I’m currently paying $900. for rent. I need to get into something less expensive. I am a half of a month late on my rent. I received an eviction notice this past week. I’m currently a student at Virginia College and would like to get closer to my school. Since my finances are at an all time low, I could really use some help to relocate or I’m going to be homeless. I am a 61 year old single woman that has lived alone for over 25 years. I have never been in this situation. I could sure use a little help.

        1. Hi Linda:

          I’m not sure we can help you beyond giving advice. We do home loans, but if you’re about to be evicted, I don’t want to tell you to apply for something you’re not going to qualify for. What you need to look for is nonprofit financial counseling in your area. They also might be able to help you look for cheaper housing resources or aid solutions.

          Kevin Graham

        2. Linda I hope u get out if your situation soon, I too was taken advantage of on a loan from my job with their credit union BCU I wish people were more honest and nor trying to make a quick buck

  4. I was married to a physician for 16 years. My parents died and I inherited some money. My husband (now ex) blew through all of my inheritance, took out a line of credit (LOC) on my house that was free and clear and took out multiple cards in my name maxing them out. I did not know any of this was going. I was working and getting my doctorate in mental health. Plus raising our three sons and in my limited free time I volunteered at my boys schools. Once my inheritance was gone and he could no longer access more monies via my credit he became abusive and served me with divorce papers. He did not tell me about the cc debt and he did not make payments. Luckily I found out about the LOC and kept current on the payments! My ex would get the mail and shred the cc bills. I found out about all of the unpaid cc debt during my divorce at trial. He lied said the debt was mine and because it was my information on all the applications. He used a signature stamp to sign my name. The judge stuck me with all the cc debt and the line of credit on my house that he took out and used to buy himself a new house. All of the cc debt went to charge offs and my credit score is now below 540! I was told that even if I pay ALL THE DEBTS IN FULL my credit score WILL NOT IMPROVE. Is this true? If it is how do I fix this? Where can I go to get “good advise” so I can properly repair my credit? My score was 839 before now 540. I am devistated. I feel like an idiot for putting all my love and trust into a man who only married me for financial gain. Please if you have any advise I would appreciate it. FYI I have already tried everything I could legally. His sister is a lawyer so he used her to prevent any legal ramifications. I tried appeals in family court and lost. My only hope is to forget the past, learn from it and fix the my credit issues myself. Thank you and I look forward to any advise.

    1. Hi Marlee:

      That sounds like an incredibly difficult situation. I’m going to recommend you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts. We have some people that specialize in credit tips. You can get in touch with our team at (888) 980-6716.

      Thank you,
      Kevin Graham

    2. I had a similar situation with my properties, my FICO, and my X. My X joined in on gang stalking (please look up the definition of “gang stalking” online) me out of everything I owned (6 properties, 5 vehicles, and a lifetime of valuable possessions). Then he left me after they made me homeless. I had nothing but a shattered heart, little hope, bad credit, … and a brand new perspective on what evil is.
      Now, I wouldn’t change any of the torture I have been through … because hallelujah, praise our Lord and Saviour, through all of the suffering, I saw the truth and the light. I am now a born-again Christian, and I know my soul is safe in the hands of Jesus, the Holy One, God almighty! It is impossible to explain the protection and joy I now have in Christ.
      As far as your credit score, I would contest every single one of them. If you do that right before you, say, buy a car, it raises your score, at least temporarily while the charges are being investigated, but usually permanently, because most companies will not bother too press the subject. Since it is in the past, it is a waste of their time. Then it will be wiped from your record or not show negative … whatever they do, the final outcome is a higher credit score!!

      1. Hi Shereen:

        I’m very glad to hear you’re doing so well now. I wouldn’t go so far as to say creditors don’t care about past debts, but there may be something you can do to negotiate in addition to maintaining better habits in the future.

  5. We owe 52000 On a land-mobil-home.Our credit score is 650 but we have alot of credit card debt. We are currently paying 678 a month house payment .We need some advice!

    1. Hi Ricky:

      Unfortunately, we don’t do mortgages on mobile homes. You would have to work with your local bank if you wanted to do debt consolidation that way. However, our friends over at Rocket Loans do personal loans and might be able to help you consolidate that way. Hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

  6. my house was paid off by me , i prefer to sell it and I will need to talk with medicaid because my handicap is being cared with

    support of medicaid . I do not think will give me issue.

    thank you


    1. Hi Samandu:

      Hopefully, you don’t have an issue. However, I do know that one of things Medicaid takes into account is the amount of assets you have available to you. You’ll definitely want to talk to them. Good luck!

      Kevin Graham

    1. In effect, you can do that with a debt consolidation. You would do a cash-out home refinance or a personal loan and use it to pay off your existing credit card balances. You then make the mortgage or personal loan payments at a much lower rate of interest than you would on a credit card. Which option makes most sense for you depends on your amount of debt and your situation. If you would like to look into your mortgage options, you can get a full refinance approval online through Rocket Mortgage or give one of our home loan experts a call at (888) 980-6716.

      Our friends at Rocket Loans offer personal loans and that’s another option to look into.

      Kevin Graham

    2. That’s a real good question Jaime !!! I’m hoping that’s all it could be then, I’d be able to pay off my 15 credit cards (which are maxed ~ out) by ~ the ~ way.
      I’ll check around Jaime. If I find an answer for ya, I’ll be back in touch with ya.
      Kondo Kev

      1. Hi Kev:

        We could help you look into your options. Your debt-to-income ratio is probably pretty high, but if nothing else we might be able to offer some advice. With that in mind, I’m going to recommend you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716. Good luck!

        Kevin Graham

        1. Please Help! I’ve been renting to own a mobile home and property for the last 5 years. I still owe just under $8000 and the air conditioner unit flatlined.. I have a 460 credit score because of medical bills and a dispute with the cable company. I have $2000 in accounts turned into collection. I’m employed full time and about to get married, I was hoping to get a loan enough to pay off the house and fix the air unit, maybe even borrow enough to pay off those accounts in collection so my credit is clear for my marriage. Do I have any options at all..

          1. Hi Brandy:

            Unfortunately, with your credit score, you’re going to have a very hard time finding financing. You really need to improve your credit. We do have a service in QLCredit where you can pull your credit for free without affecting your score and get tips on how to improve. Honestly though, at this point, your best option may be to look at credit counseling. I wish you luck.

            Kevin Graham

          2. Brandy, don’t start marriage in debt. It’s a bad realtionship stressor! Unless there is a medical condition, a/c is not a need – do without it to pay off medical and settle cable issue. No eating out, cancel gym and any subscriptions, groceries are whatever’s on sale that week, no vacations, and outings may include mall walking with friends. More borrowing to cover old debt doesn’t fix probem – it just delays it and costs more interest. Get a second job or ask for overtime and commit the added income to debts. And host a garage sale – cleans up your house and debt at same time😉 Make a plan and stick to it. Grass under your feet feels different when you own instead of owe. You can do it!

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