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3 Ways to Shed Your Credit Card Debt by the End of the Year

A couple sit in their living room and pay their credit card balances online.

Image source: Getty Images

Sometimes, life's circumstances cause you to run low on cash. When that happens, your credit cards can come in handy, paying for essential expenses that can't be put off or avoided, like food, medication, and utilities.

If you've racked up credit card debt this year, you're probably in good company. After all, a lot of people still aren't fully back to work, and inflation has caused common expenses like groceries and gasoline to cost more in general. But if you want to close out the year debt free, here are a few things you can do to make that happen.

1. Get on a tighter budget

Following a budget is a good debt-avoidance strategy. After all, if you have your expenses clearly mapped out for you, you'll be less likely to overspend.

But if you've already landed in debt, you may need to get stricter with your budget to carve out extra money to pay it off. Take a look at your expenses and see if there's any wiggle room to cut back on spending. That could mean canceling a streaming service temporarily or being more frugal at the supermarket -- look for things that fit your specific situation.

2. Pick up a side hustle

You may already be living a bare bones lifestyle and not have any expenses you can reduce. But if that's the case, you're not doomed to stay in debt. If you can get a side hustle on top of your main job, you can use the proceeds from that gig to chip away at your balance.

Keep in mind that getting a side hustle does not have to mean committing to preset hours. These days, there are many gigs you can do independently. You can apply to write or edit content from home, drive for a ride-hailing service, or sign up to pet- or house-sit when it's convenient for you. And these are just a few examples.

3. Do a balance transfer

The less interest you accrue on your credit card debt, the easier it'll be to pay it off quickly. And to that end, a balance transfer credit card can help.

When you do a balance transfer, you move your existing balances onto a new credit card with a lower interest rate. You may, in fact, be able to get a 0% introductory APR on your balance transfer. A balance transfer is especially worth pursuing if you have decent credit. (If your credit is lower, you might struggle to qualify.)

End the year on a financially sound note

Many people like to start a new year with a clean financial slate, so you may be motivated to rid yourself of credit card debt by the time 2021 comes to a close. The good news is that there are several tactics you can use to meet that goal. And remember, even if you don't manage to get rid of all of your credit card debt before 2022, if you whittle down your balance, you'll still end the year in a stronger place.

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