Racked Up Summertime Credit Card Debt? 3 Tips to Pay It Off Before Year-End

by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 28, 2021

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A group of friends laughing over drinks at a bar.

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Here's how to avoid carrying your debt with you into the upcoming year.

Before the Delta variant took over, the summer of 2021 was shaping up to be fun and carefree. And even with cases rising again, many people did manage to get out and enjoy the warm months, whether in the form of traveling, seeing friends, or hitting the local beach.

But what if your summertime fun landed you in a pile of credit card debt? If so, you're not alone. But the last thing you want is to have that debt hang over your head well into 2022. And if you follow these tips, you might manage to have your balance paid off by the time the current year comes to a close.

1. Cut back on costly social plans

After a year of isolation, the idea of spending less time with friends and family may seem unappealing. But chances are that a fair chunk of your income goes toward social events -- gatherings at restaurants, concerts, and other activities that aren't cheap. And cutting back on those things could be your ticket to freeing up enough money to pay off your debt more quickly.

Now, this isn't to say that you shouldn't make social plans in the coming months. Rather, the advice here is to cut back on expensive plans. If you want to host a movie night at your apartment for a group of friends you feel comfortable seeing in close quarters, do so. Or gather your buddies for potluck picnics or hikes that don't strain your bank account.

There are plenty of ways to be social without spending much or any money. Take advantage of those options so you can chip away at your balance.

2. Get a side job

A good way to knock out some nagging credit card debt is to boost your income with a second job. In fact, if you manage to earn enough, you may not even have to cut back on too many social plans.

Finding the right side hustle could boil down to trial and error. If you're not sure where to start, try this quiz to get some ideas. Another option is to think about the things you enjoy doing and figure out whether it's possible to turn them into an income stream.

For example, if you like to bake, you may (depending on the laws in your state) be able to sell baked goods at farmers markets or to private customers (think parents who want custom birthday cakes or party favors for their kids). Or if you're a crafter, you can open an online shop. There are many options to choose from, but if you're willing to put in the time, you could end up debt free within months.

3. Have a yard sale

You probably have items in your home that you don't actually get much (or any) use from. Swapping them for cash is a good way to get out of debt sooner, and a yard sale could be a great way to find buyers.

For your best chance at success, team up with other people who also have items to unload. Join forces with friends or neighbors so a bunch of you can set up tables together at the same time, and so you can advertise to your respective networks. Doing so could draw in more people the day of your yard sale -- and help you find more takers.

It's one thing to rack up some credit card debt after a busy summer, but it's another to have it drag on for months on end. If you want to be debt free by the end of the year, a little planning and ingenuity could be all you need to whittle down your balance -- and unload a lot of financial stress.

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