The CARD Act of 2009 was congressional legislation designed to protect consumers and requires that your credit card statement chart how long it will take to pay off your balance if you only make minimum payments monthly and not add any additional charges to the account. It also must indicate how much you need to pay monthly in order to pay off the debt in three years. In addition, it must show the estimated total you will end up paying for either option you take. It's amazing to see how motivated one will become when seeing the amount of money saved by paying the three-year payment plan! By the way, from the time that the CARD Act was passed until it was enacted, some banks increased the minimum payment from 2 percent to 4 percent of the balance, thus decreasing consumer monthly cash flow.

Still, there are many, many "games" that the credit card companies play that can affect you financially. All of these "games" are legal, which is why it's so important to know the rules of the game. Like it or not, if you have credit cards right now—you're in the game.

Let's say you're the average American. You have a decent job, but you also have $8,000 in high-rate credit card debt. You have no savings to speak of. You worry about your money on a daily basis (in fact, it keeps you up at night), and you don't believe that $10 a day can dig you out if that hole. But it can, and in less time than you may think. If you get on this plan—and stick with it—in 3 years you'll be credit-card-debt-free.

According to Jean Chatzky in Pay It Down!: Debt-Free on $10 a Day, the key is to pay more than your minimum payment. By applying $10 a day against your $8,000 credit card debt (at an interest rate of 16%) you'll be debt-free in 33 months.

Debt Minimum Payment Interest Rate Years
$8,000 $160 per month*
($5 per day)
16% 30
$8,000 $300 per month
($10 per day)
16% 3

* If minimum payment is 2% of balance