Paying down credit card debt is one of the quickest ways to improve your credit score. However, considering how much credit card debt many of us have, this is much easier said than done.
If you feel like you are drowning in debt, you are certainly not alone. Credit card debt has become an enormous problem, with trillions of dollars outstanding and millions of consumers wondering how their debt problems got that bad.
When it comes to paying off that debt, you could go the conventional route, taking out a home equity loan, signing up for a debt consolidation program or scrimping and saving to make a higher monthly payment. But there are other approaches as well, including the five creative debt solutions outlined below. If you are looking to improve your credit score quickly, one of these options might be perfect for you.
#1. Negotiate Directly With Your Creditors
There are plenty of companies that claim they can help you pay off debt for pennies on the dollar. Of course, sorting the legitimate companies from the scam artists can be a real challenge. If you pick the wrong company, you could end up deeper in debt, with thousands of dollars in fees and a credit score that is even lower than before.
Instead of taking that route, pick up the phone and do the negotiating yourself. It can take some courage to make that phone call, but you could save a lot of money. When you do call, ask to speak to a supervisor right away; the higher level employees have far more flexibility to forgive interest charges and reduce balances than their front-line equivalents.
#2. Embrace Simplicity
One of the biggest culprits in credit card debt is overspending, and much of that money is wasted. If you are serious about getting out of debt, take an honest look around your home and look for stuff that you can sell.
Selling your stuff could net you thousands of dollars, money you can apply to your credit card bills. Hopefully, you negotiated a lower payoff in step 1, so your yard sale or eBay money will go even further.
#3. Rent Out Your Stuff
If you cannot bear to part with your stuff, at least make it pay its own way. There are a number of services that allow ordinary people to rent out their stuff, from the latest electronic gadgets to toys and games for the kids.
Just sign up for a few of these rental services, list the stuff you can live without for a few weeks or months and start bringing in the cash. The payoff may seem small at first, but once you get into it, you could see your earnings spike.
#4. Sell Your Creations
If you are the crafty type, you could turn your hobby into extra money. This “found money” can be used to pay off your debt and build wealth for the future. Sites like Etsy let makers of arts and crafts sell direct to the public, and many participants do quite well with their sideline businesses.
If you are an avid photographer, you could sell your shots directly at shows and galleries. Perhaps you could even post your best work at websites that specialize in stock photography? Business owners are always looking for stock images they can use to populate their ads and create their websites, so you could make a pretty penny doing what you love.
#5. Play the Balance Transfer Game
Even if you are deep in debt, you probably still receive those 0% balance transfer offers in the mail. The next time one shows up in your mailbox, do not throw it away; use it to play the balance transfer game. Of course, if your goal is to improve your credit score, you will still need to lower your overall utilization for this to happen.
You will need to pay careful attention to dates and deadlines, so some sort of tracking process is essential. But if you can pay off your debt before the 0% interest period expires, you could pay off a lot of debt – and save a fortune in fees.
Improve Your Credit Score By Paying Down Your Credit Card Debt
Getting into debt is all too easy, but clawing your way out is much harder. If you have simply resigned yourself to a life of debt, you might want to rethink your choice and get creative. The five ideas listed above can help you get started so you can live a debt-free lifestyle going forward.
If your motivation is to improve your credit score, remember that the quickest way to see an improvement is by lowering your overall utilization. The tips above will increase your credit score in just a matter of a few weeks, or even days. ♦