Pay Little Or No Interest On Your Credit Card Debt – Okay?

     Are you at all like 45% of America — in debt to your credit cards and unable to do anything other than make minimum payments? (By the way, it is a mere coincidence that 45 is also the percentage of us considering a move to Canada in the wake of the U.S. dollar’s recent performance.) The math is pretty simple: If you have $5,000 in credit card debt at 12.9%, that’s about $650 a year in interest alone! If you have $15,000 in debt at 12.9%, that’s $1,950 a year…uh huh. You see where I’m going with this. How are you ever going to pay that off if you are struggling to make your minimums?

     Hope is not lost. Not entirely, anyway. The first, second, and third things I would prescribe are cutbacks (live within your means, for the love of Mike!), but there is something else you can do, too: Take the time to make sure you are paying next to nothing in the way of interest. Sound hard? It is not. Well, not that hard.

     Assuming that you’ve been able to make those aforementioned minimum payments, your credit rating might not be too bad. If that is the case — and of you have not signed up for that much-ballyhooed “do not market to” list – you are likely getting a lot of promotional offers in the mail from credit card issuers. Do not be afraid of them! Take some time and sort through for the best of them, reading the fine print very carefully. If you can snag one with 0-2% APR for nine months or a year — and if there are no one-time service charges for balance transfers — go ahead and sign up. In fact, move everything you can over to that card. Go to’s Credit Card Offers.

     Now, the tricky parts. For starters, you need to know and keep track of the exact date your promotional rate expires. Do not get caught paying an extra hundred dollars because you forgot to look at your calendar and the standard rate on the card is 20%. That ruins my whole brilliant strategy. What you need to do is start keeping an eye on the mailbox three or four months before the end of your introductory period. As soon as another offer comes along, start the whole darn cycle over again. The other issue is one of psychological adjustment: Just because you are not paying interest does not mean you can use your new card to spend like Paris Hilton! How do you think you got into this bind in the first place? Strike a deal with yourself to never-ever-ever make any purchases with the card. Balance transfers only.

     This basic strategy for managing your debt can literally save you thousands of dollars over the course of a few years, helping you to actually pay your debt off rather than keeping it alive. Then you can start working on that Hollywood Hills lifestyle.