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Putting together a credit card repayment schedule
Drawing up a credit card repayment schedule is a handy way to keep on top of your credit card payments. By making a budget of how much you can afford to pay off each month, you’ll be able to see how long it will take you to clear the balance. If you’re only making the minimum payment or small repayments each month, it will take months or even years to clear your balance and could cost you a lot in interest payments.
We’ll take you through what you can do to keep track of your borrowing.
Get familiar with your income and expenditure
When you’re thinking about setting up a credit card repayment schedule, it’s a good idea to have a look at your bank statements from the past few months to see how much you’ve got coming in and how much you’re spending.
Sometimes, it can be easy to lose track of how much you spend, and you might be surprised by just how many purchases you make. Just having this information in front of you helps to visualise your spending and can really identify areas where you might be able to save.
Once you’ve identified the areas you can cut back on – such as dining out or dropping into the supermarket several times in the week – have a look at how much you’re spending on these areas each month. From here, try and set aside the cash you would normally spend and put it towards repaying your credit card balance.
It usually helps to print out copies of your statement from your online banking and circle the areas you think you might be overspending on. Remember not to stretch yourself too far though – it’s not realistic budgeting if you’re cutting out essential spending like your weekly food shop.
Use a repayment calculator
There are many credit card repayment calculators on the web that can help you to visualise how long it will take to pay your credit card off by dedicating specific amounts of cash each month to it. This calculator offered by the Money Advice Service is a good place to start.
In order to use the calculator properly, you’ll have to know how much your current balance is on each of your credit cards. Many credit card providers offer an online service for you to find this, but using your last credit card statement is an option if you don’t have access to this.
Here, you can input your current balance, the APR on your credit card and how much you’re hoping to repay each month. Plus, you’ll be able to add all your credit cards into the calculator to work out a suitable repayment schedule for all of them.
Once you’ve inputted all your credit card details, you’ll be able to see how long it will take you to clear your balance by repaying the amount you’ve budgeted for – and you’ll also be able to see how long it would take should you choose to pay more or less than that each month. Not only this, but you can see how much you’ll be paying in interest over the duration of the repayment too.
The benefits of repaying quickly
As interest accumulates on your outstanding balance, the quicker you clear it, the less you’ll have to pay. Typically, you’ll have to pay a set percentage of your outstanding balance each month in interest – so it makes sense to pay off your entire balance as soon as you can.
Although it may mean reining in your spending or cutting back on certain luxuries for a few months, the money you save in the long-run will be worth it. By doing this, you’ll also reduce the chances of your balance spiralling out of control. If you only pay the minimum repayment each month, it can take many years before you pay off your entire balance, and you’ll have to pay a considerable amount in interest.