You’re certainly not alone if you’re carrying more credit card debt from month to month than you’d like to be. Breaking the cycle is rarely easy, but the benefits of wiping burdensome debt off your personal balance sheet can be huge. Here’s how to get started. Take a total. List your cards in interest-rate order, starting with the card that has the highest interest rate, along with the amount you owe on each. Budget for more than the minimums. Review your expenses and figure out the maximum amount you can put toward repaying your credit card debts each month. You may need to cut corners, but keeping your goal in mind will help motivate you to find the extra money you need to pay more than the minimum amounts on your cards. Focus on the highest rate debt first. In general, it’s best to put additional amounts toward the card with the highest rate until it is paid off, then move on to the card that’s next on your list, etc. All the while, you should avoid new charges and continue to pay the minimum amounts due on your other cards. As inspiration, consider an example of how paying an extra $25 a month compares to paying only the minimums (4% of outstanding balances):

Balance Rate
Card 1 $3,000 17.5%
Card 2 $4,000 15%

Payoff time with only minimum monthly payments: 10 years, 10 months Payoff time with an extra payment of $25 a month: 2 years, 4 months