When I first started my journey to tackle my debt, all I knew was to just pay for my monthly payments each month until the balance is paid off, but there is more to tackling your debt than just paying it off.
Paying your minimum balances every month does help towards paying the debt off, but this is a more long-term approach, in this post I want to share with you the best method of paying off your debt in a more rapid way.
We will discuss:
- Things You Need To Do To Get Started
- Methods To Paying Off Debt
- Debt Avalance
- Debt Consolidation
- Recommended Method Of Paying Off Debt – Debt Snowball Method
- Closing Remarks
Things You Need To Do To Get Started
Before you start your debt-free journey and tackle your debt, there are a couple of things you need to do to help you stay on track and within your budget.
- Do Not Add To Your Debt: If you want to send the end of the road to your debt journey to you need to stop taking out loans and no more spending on your credit cards to add to the balance.
- No More Spending Splurges: You have to discipline yourself with spending money and set a certain amount of money aside each month to spend on what you want. This will help you stay in budget and put a handle on your spending splurges. In my next step, we will go over how to budget.
- Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Debt: We all know how we got all our debt, but what matters now is how we plan to handle what we created and stay out of debt. This is when we take our target debt balance, and we get angry with our debt and tackle it every month until we are debt-free.
Ok, now that we got that out the way, let’s get into the different methods to tackling your debt.
Methods To Paying Off Debt
There are many methods to tackling your debt, but not all the methods available is the best route to go. Here are a couple of methods you can use to pay off your debt:
The debt avalanche is a method of listing your debts in order from the highest interest rate to the lowest interest rate. Then you will pay the minimum monthly payment on all your debts each month, and any extra money will go towards the debt of the highest interest. You will continue to do this each month until the debt with the high-interest rate is paid off. Then you will repeat the same steps for all your debts in order of high-interest rate until your debt is paid off.
For example, let’s say you have three debts: Auto Loan $19,000 4.5% interest rate, Credit Card $1000 18% interest rate, and Personal Loan $5000 10% interest rate. You will then list those debts in order by the highest interest rate: Credit Card 18%, Personal Loan 10%, and Auto Loan 4.5%.
Each month you will pay the minimum payments on each of the three accounts, and any extra money will go towards the debt with the highest interest rate.
Let’s say you have $500 of extra money each month; you will put that extra money towards your Credit Card bill since it has the highest interest rate, and you will do this each month until it is paid off. Once that debt is paid off, you will repeat the steps towards your next highest debt. Please see the example below.
- It helps you pay off your highest interest monthly debt first, which will relieve you of extra money to put towards other debts.
- The method can take a while to pay off your debt, which can be demotivating while you are trying to see financial freedom at the end of the road.
Another way you can tackle your debt is by applying for a debt consolidation loan. A debt consolidation loan is a loan in the amount of your total debt that you use to combine all your debt into one payment each month.
For example, let’s say you have $40,000 in debt. You apply for a loan and get approved; then you use that loan to pay off all your debt and pay one single payment to the loan each month.
Although you are consolidating your debt into one payment, which can lower your payment each month, but you are starting a new loan over which adds more years to achieve your financial goal.
- You will make one monthly payment for all your debts.
- You will prolong your time in debt and achieving your financial goals.
- Depending on your credit, you may have a high-interest rate on the loan.
Another method is to try and clear your debt by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding for those who are looking for relief from their debts because they can not pay them. All bankruptcy cases are different, it may not clear all your debts, and it only stops the collectors of the debts from contacting you temporarily.
There are two types of bankruptcy for individuals or families:
- Chapter 7: Is when an individual or family with low income sells all their assets to help clear their unsecured debt. Depending on how much assets you have, you could lose your car and/or your home based on the court decision. Some of the types of assets that Chapter 7 looks at is stock, bonds, cash, houses, cars, etc. This chapter will stay on your credit for ten years.
- Chapter 13: Is when an individual or family with a higher income to qualify for Chapter 7 files for bankruptcy to have the court decide on a three to five year repayment plan to help pay back their debt. This helps them get up to date on all debts they are past due while maintaining a monthly budget that is monitored by the court. This chapter will stay on your credit for seven years.
Bankruptcy hurts your credit, and if you are trying to purchase a home in the near future, this is not the route to go.
- Helps clear your debt and get caught up on payments if you are past due or in collection.
- May not clear all your debt.
- Stays on your credit for up to 10 years and hurts your credit if you plan on a big purchase in the near future.
The best way to tackle your debt is by taking care of your debt yourself, and the best way to get out of debt fast is by using the method that I am going to recommend next.
Recommended Method Of Paying Off Debt – Debt Snowball Method
If you have been following my steps to becoming debt-free and completed step two, then you have already completed the first step of the Debt Snowball Method, which lists all your debts from smallest balance to highest balance. Then you will pay the minimum payment on all your debts each month, and if you have extra money, you will put it towards the smallest balance of your debts.
So let’s say your first smallest debt balance is $300, and your minimum monthly payment is $50 each month. After creating your budget (which we will get into in the next step), you realized you have an extra $100 leftover after taking care of all your bills. You will take that $100 and add it to your minimum monthly payment of $50, making the payment for that month $150, leaving a balance of $150.
You will repeat this process for the next month, so your new balance is $150, and you already budget the minimum payment of $50, and you are going to add the extra $100 again, bringing it to $150. This will now pay off that debt within two months instead of four months by just paying the minimum balance.
Once the first smallest debt balance is paid off, you will use the minimum payment of that debt, which was $50, and add it to your second smallest debt payment each month until that balance is paid off.
So let’s say your second smallest debt balance is $500, and your minimum monthly payment is $100. You will then add the minimum payment of your first debt, which was $50 and the $100 of extra money, which makes your extra money $150 and add it to the second debt.
This makes the payment for that second debt $250 ($100 minimum payment + $150 extra money) and leaving you a balance of $250 ($500 second smallest debt balance – $250 payment for the month). You will repeat this process for the next month, which will pay the debt off in two months instead of five months.
You will repeat this process for all of your debts until all your debts are paid off.
The debt snowball method gives you a more rapid way of paying off your debt and gives you motivation towards achieving your financial goals.
- Pay debt off in half the time it would take you making monthly payments each month.
- Gives you motivation as you tackle your debts each month.
- I have not found any cons yet to using the debt snowball method.
Each of the methods mentioned above will help you on your journey to becoming debt-free. You should choose a method that fits you the best. The debt snowball method is a method that is going to teach you long term, discipline you with money, and motivate you as you complete small steps.
The hard part is realizing where you are with your money. The next steps are all the actions you take towards your journey and achieving your goals. If you follow me on my journey to debt-free, I hope to inspire you as I hold myself accountable and achieve my debt-free goal.
If you have any questions about any of these methods, please reach out to me below or by my contact page. I look forward to talking to you.