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Does Your Credit Need to Go on a Diet?

Jeanne Kelly

Our credit might feel bloated and overweight after a holiday season, vacation or just from putting many recently needed items on your charge cards. And when we get that credit card statement in the mail, it feels the same as adjusting your belt buckle — not good! So if you’re focusing on slimming down this spring, perhaps it’s time to put your credit on a diet as well.

If your credit is heavy with debt, one of the first things you should do is make a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible. After all, failing to pay off your credit cards can lead to high interest payments that could eventually see the cost of your gift purchases doubled or tripled within a few months.

Here is a plan for your credit card repayment to trim down on debt:

1. Preferred: As quickly as possible, pay off all of your credit cards so that you are no longer carrying a balance.

2. If you can’t pay off your credit cards in full, pay them down as much as possible. Your credit scores are affected by the amount of available credit you have, so the more you have, the better. And this obviously reduces the amount of money that you’ll have to pay interest on next month.

3. If you can barely pay your credit cards down, at least make the minimum payments to avoid late charges and an outstanding notice on your credit report.

4. Avoid: Skipping your credit card payments.

If you have several cards and not enough to go around, put some money on each card but just make sure you are at least paying the minimum payment. If necessary, go on a spending diet in the next few months to keep yourself from adding new charges to your credit cards. Take some of your credit cards out of your wallet and keep them in a safe place at home if they are too much of a temptation in your wallet.

Available credit is critical. It ensures that we have money when we need it. Sometimes our credit card balances can be bloated from too much spending, reducing our available credit. If that’s the case for you, put your credit on a diet and get those credit card statements slim and trim again! To see how paying off your debt helps your credit, you can monitor your credit score for free once a month using Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card or pull a copy of your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.

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