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15 Insider Secrets for Houstonians to Overcome Credit Card Debt

How To Get Out of Debt


Do you find that you're just not making progress on your debt, no matter how hard you try? Credit card debt can be a heavy burden, causing stress and limiting your financial freedom. Houstonians are not immune to the burden of credit card debt. With high interest rates, minimum payments and the temptation to overspend, credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control. This article will provide proven strategies and tips for crushing credit card debt and regaining control of your financial health. 

1. Understand the True Cost of Credit Card Debt 

The first step in tackling credit card debt is to recognize its true cost. High interest rates can make carrying a balance extremely expensive over time. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 balance and an 18% annual percentage rate (APR) and you only make minimum payments of $100 per month, it would take you over 94 months (nearly 8 years) to pay off the debt, and you would end up paying a total of $9,396.53. That's an additional $4,396.53 in interest charges alone! Understanding the long-term impact of high-interest debt is crucial in motivating you to take action and prioritize debt repayment. 

2. Create a Budget and Track Expenses 

To effectively tackle credit card debt, you need to have a clear picture of your income and expenses. Create a budget that accounts for all your monthly income sources and necessary expenses, such as rent, utilities, groceries and transportation. Track your spending carefully to identify areas where you can cut back and allocate more funds towards debt repayment. Consider using budgeting apps or spreadsheets to help you stay organized and accountable. 

3. Implement the Debt Snowball Method 

The debt snowball method, popularized by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, is a powerful strategy for paying off credit card debt. Here's how it works: How To Get Out of Debt

  • List your credit card debts from smallest to largest balance, regardless of interest rates.
  • Make minimum payments on all debts except the smallest one. 
  • Put as much extra money as possible towards the smallest debt until it is paid off.
  • Once the smallest debt is eliminated, take the money you were paying towards it and apply it to the next smallest debt.
  • Repeat this process, gaining momentum as each debt is paid off until you are debt-free.   

The debt snowball method provides a psychological boost by allowing you to see progress quickly, which can motivate you to stay committed to your debt repayment plan. 

4. Consider the Debt Avalanche Method 

Another effective strategy for paying off credit card debt is the debt avalanche method. Unlike the debt snowball method, which focuses on the smallest balances first, the debt avalanche method prioritizes debts with the highest interest rates. Here's how it works: 

  • List your credit card debts from highest to lowest interest rates. 
  • Make minimum payments on all debts. 
  • Put any extra money towards the debt with the highest interest rate. 
  • Once the highest-interest debt is paid off, move on to the next highest-interest debt. 
  • Repeat this process until all debts are eliminated. 

The debt avalanche method can save you money on interest charges over time as you target the most expensive debts first. However, compared to the debt snowball method, it may take longer to see progress initially. 

5. Negotiate with Credit Card Companies 

Many people are unaware that they can negotiate with their credit card companies for better terms. If you have a good payment history and have been a loyal customer, you may be able to secure a lower interest rate, waived fees and even a temporary hardship program. Call your credit card issuer and explain your situation, emphasizing your desire to pay off your debt and remain a customer. Be persistent, and don't hesitate to escalate the conversation to a supervisor if needed. 

6. Explore Balance Transfer Options 

Balance transfer credit cards can be a useful tool in your debt repayment arsenal. These cards often offer 0% APR introductory periods, allowing you to transfer high-interest credit card balances to the new card and pay off the debt interest-free for a set time (usually 12-18 months). This can save you significant money on interest charges and accelerate your debt repayment. However, be mindful of balance transfer fees (typically 3-5% of the transferred amount) and have a plan to pay off the balance before the introductory period ends, as the interest rate may skyrocket afterward. 

7. Consider Debt Consolidation Loans 

Debt consolidation loans allow you to combine multiple credit card debts into a single loan with a fixed interest rate and monthly payment. This can simplify your debt repayment process and potentially lower your overall interest rate. However, it's essential to shop around for the best terms and carefully consider the pros and cons. Find reputable lenders, such as credit unions and compare interest rates, fees and repayment terms. PrimeWay Federal Credit Union offers one of Houston's best rates for debt consolidation. Remember that debt consolidation loans often require good credit, and you should avoid extending the repayment timeline unnecessarily, as it could increase the total interest paid over time. 

Consolidate your debt.

8. Cut Unnecessary Expenses 

To free up more money for debt repayment, take a hard look at your expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. Cancel subscriptions or memberships you don't use, eat out less often and find free or low-cost alternatives for entertainment. Look for ways to save on essential expenses as well, such as shopping for cheaper phone plans, negotiating bills and downsizing your living arrangements if possible. Every dollar you save can be put towards paying off your credit card debt faster. 

9. Boost Your Income 

Increasing your income can provide a significant boost to your debt repayment efforts. Consider taking on a part-time job, freelancing or starting a side hustle. Explore opportunities that align with your skills and interests, such as tutoring, pet-sitting or selling handmade crafts online. Use the extra income exclusively for debt repayment to accelerate your progress.

10. Seek Professional Help

overcome credit card debt

If you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling to make progress on your own, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Non-profit credit counseling agencies, such as Money Management International (MMI) or GreenPath Financial Wellness, offer free or low-cost services to help you develop a personalized debt repayment plan. They can also negotiate with creditors on your behalf and provide educational resources to help you build better financial habits. 

11. Take Advantage of Local Resources 

As a Houstonian, you have access to various local resources to support your debt repayment journey. The United Way of Greater Houston offers financial education workshops and connects individuals with community resources. The City of Houston also provides financial empowerment centers that offer free, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching. Take advantage of these resources to gain knowledge, support and guidance as you work to overcome credit card debt. 

12. Avoid Taking on New Debt 

While focusing on paying off existing credit card debt, it's crucial to avoid taking on new debt. Resist the temptation to use credit cards for non-essential purchases and find alternative ways to cover expenses, such as using cash or debit cards. If you must use a credit card, pay off the balance in full each month to avoid accruing additional high-interest debt. 

13. Celebrate Milestones 

Paying off debt is a marathon, not a sprint. To stay motivated, celebrate your progress along the way. Set achievable milestones, such as paying off a certain amount of debt or reaching a specific credit score and reward yourself when you reach them. These rewards don't have to be expensive; they can be as simple as treating yourself to a favorite meal or enjoying a movie night with friends. Recognizing your accomplishments will help you stay focused and energized on your debt repayment journey. 

15 Insider Secrets for Houstonians to Overcome Credit Card Debt

Struggling with credit card debt in Houston? Discover 15 local secrets to tackle your debt, improve your credit score and achieve financial freedom.

14. Build an Emergency Fund 

As you make progress on your credit card debt, it's essential to start building an emergency fund. Having a financial cushion can help you avoid relying on credit cards when unexpected expenses arise, such as car repairs or medical bills. Start small, aiming to save at least $1,000 in a separate savings account. Once you've reached that goal, continue building your emergency fund to cover 3-6 months' worth of living expenses. 

15. Stay Committed and Focused 

Finally, the key to overcoming credit card debt is staying committed and focused on your goal. There will be setbacks and challenges along the way, but don't let them derail your progress. Keep your eye on the prize – a debt-free future where you have the financial freedom to pursue your dreams and build wealth. Surround yourself with supportive people, whether it's friends, family or a financial accountability partner, who can provide encouragement and motivation when you need it most.


Overcoming credit card debt is possible with the right strategies, resources and mindset. By understanding the true cost of debt, creating a budget, implementing proven debt repayment methods, negotiating with creditors and taking advantage of available resources, you can break free from the debt cycle and pave the way for a brighter financial future. Stay committed, stay focused and never give up on your dream of a debt-free life. With persistence and determination, you can emerge stronger, wiser and more financially empowered than ever before. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I prioritize my credit card debt?  

Depending on your financial goals and motivation, prioritize your debts by focusing on the card with the highest interest rate or the smallest balance. 

Should I pay off my credit card debt or build an emergency fund first? 

It's essential to have some emergency savings in place, but if you have high-interest debt, consider paying that off first to avoid accumulating more interest. 

How can I negotiate with my creditors? 

Reach out to your creditors and explain your financial situation. They may be willing to work with you to temporarily reduce or suspend payments, lower interest rates or waive fees. 

What's the best way to consolidate my credit card debt? 

Consider a balance transfer to a lower-interest credit card, a debt consolidation loan and a debt management plan (DMP) with a credit counseling agency. 

How long will it take to pay off my credit card debt? 

The payoff period depends on your debt amount, interest rate and monthly payments. Use a debt repayment calculator to estimate your payoff period. 

Should I use the snowball method or avalanche method to pay off my debt? 

The snowball method involves paying off smaller debts first, while the avalanche method focuses on debts with higher interest rates. Choose the approach that motivates you most. 

Can I pay off my credit card debt with a personal loan? 

Yes, you can use a personal loan to consolidate and pay off your credit card debt. Compare loan rates and terms to ensure you're getting a better deal. 

How can I avoid accumulating new credit card debt while paying off existing debt? 

Avoid using credit cards for new purchases, and consider freezing or cutting them up to avoid temptation. 

Will paying off my credit card debt hurt my credit score? 

Paying off your credit card debt can actually help your credit score in the long run, as it reduces your credit utilization ratio and demonstrates responsible payment behavior. 

Author Bio

Laurie Masera Garza

Laurie is a digital marketing and social media maven who has more than 15 years of interactive multi-media experience under her belt. When she is not rocking the social media atmosphere, Laurie loves to find Houston’s hidden dining gems, but ask her about tacos. She loves tacos. In her spare time, Laurie loves creating, whether its art or memories.

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