"I have so much debt split up on different credit cards that it's overwhelming, where do I begin?"
What do you do? Simple answer, continue paying your minimum payment on all, but use some of the extra discretionary income you created (bringing a lunch, less cable tv, etc.) to add toward your payment on your lowest balance and pay off cards from lowest to highest (debt snowball method, Dave Ramsey).
Card 1 $2,800 balance ($70 min payment), card 2 $400 balance ($20 min payment), card 3 $1250 balance ($40 min payment), card 4 $500 balance ($20 min payment).
Extra income found from budgeting $200, Minimum payments total $150. $350/ month going toward credit card payments.
Month 1: Pay minimum payments on cards 1,3, and 4 ($70+$40+$20= $130 of $350 for credit card payments, leaving $220). Pay minimum payment, $20 plus $200 on card 2. $220 total paid on card 2, remaining balance on card 2 $180.
Month 2: Pay minimum payments on cards 1 and 3. Pay $188 ($180 balance plus 8 interest added on) on card 2. SHRED AND DISPOSE CARD 2!
But, remember last month you had $220 budgeted toward card 2, so after paying $188 you have $32 extra dollars! Use this $32 to add to the next lowest balance card, card 4. Pay $20 minimum payment on card 4 plus the $32 or $52 total on card 4.
Month 3: Pay minimum payments on cards 1 and 3 ($70 + $40= $110 out of $350 budgeted for credit card payments, leaving $240 for card 4). Remaining balance on card 4 before this months payment $450. Pay $240, leaving $210 balance on card 4.
By month 4 you will have paid off card 4 (AND SHREDDED IT!) and have reduced your number of payments to worry about from 4 to 2 in 4 months. Imagine when you only have 1 payment to worry about (card 1) and because of your budgeting you could afford to make $350 payments on it instead of the $70 minimum payment, you're now paying 5 times that amount! Imagine how fast you will pay it off if by that time the balance is about $2,500. In just about 8 months you could be credit card debt free! (Note: 2500/350 = 7.14).
It would take only about 1 year and 3 months to pay off nearly $5,000 in credit card debt using the debt snowball method in this example ($5,000/350 = 14.29).
In a nutshell, you basically pay your minimum payment on all, but use some of the extra discretionary income you created (bringing a lunch, less cable tv, etc.) to add toward your payment on your card with the lowest balance. Then pay off credit cards from lowest balance to highest balance.
NOTE: If your card with the highest balance also has the highest interest rate, then you should actually pay it down first. This is because you are paying the most in interest payments on this card and it will take you a while to get to this card if you pay more on the lowest balances first. So, if your card with the highest interest is also the one with the highest balance, do not use the debt snowball method. Higher interest rate trumps least balance when paying credit cards.