Credit card debt can be among the hardest to pay off, because it usually has high interest rates and punitive terms.

A balance transfer or debt consolidation loan could be the answer, but you’ll need to avoid the repayment pitfalls that could extend, or worsen, the problem.

While you’re paying off balance transfers or loans, avoid the following mistakes that could keep you from getting out of credit card debt.

Failing to prioritize debt payments

If you don’t prioritize debt payments each month, you risk running out of money before making your  payments. Instead, if you can, set aside the money for your debt payments as soon as you receive your first paycheck of the month. But keep track of where you put that money.

Not tracking your progress

Tracking payment progress goes a long way toward keeping you motivated. Without motivation to pay off your debt, it’s easy to fall off track, miss payments, and fall further behind.

Look at your account balances each month, and track how many more months you need to pay them off.

Ignoring why you’re in debt

Many Americans have self-inflicted reasons why they’re in debt, such as excessive spending on extras such as hobbies. If there’s something under your control that’s driving you into debt, make a plan to reduce that spending. Find cheaper hobbies.

Make spending on yourself an occasional small reward for hard work, paying down debt, and putting money into savings.

The bottom line

Paying off credit card debt is a gift to your budget, and your future. Once you have a strategy, stick to it and finish the job.

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