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5 ways to tackle credit card debt

If you have some debt, you’re not alone: the national average credit card debt among American cardholders is $7,292. Here are some strategies for paying it down.

1. Review your expenses

Make a list of all debts and other monthly expenses that you owe and compare it to your income. From here, you can prioritize your spending and determine where you can reduce your monthly costs to free up money to be applied to your total debt.

2. Prioritize your debt

Have multiple debts? Pay the minimum on all your accounts, but choose one to prioritize and pay as much as you can afford until it’s gone. Some people start with the smallest debt while others focus on the one with the highest interest rate. Choose the approach that works for you. You can use a calculator tool to set a strategy for paying down your debt, like the Snowball Debt Calculator from Thrivent Credit Union.

3. Pay more than the minimum

It’s important to pay the minimum balance on your monthly credit card statements to avoid incurring added fees. Making extra payments applied to the principal will help you pay down the debt faster.

4. Consolidate your debts

Consider combining multiple debts into one monthly payment, ideally with a lower interest rate. This may make your debt easier to manage and less expensive overall by helping you pay less in interest. You can put more money toward reducing the overall debt total.

5. Set a debt-free date

Set a goal for when you can be debt-free and develop milestones to reach along the way. Consider using a budgeting app like You Need a Budget or Mint to help with the calculations and to keep you accountable. You also can check out Money Canvas, a free online program, including coaching, that helps build healthier budgeting, saving and spending habits.

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