Pretty much nobody likes having debt and many people want to pay off loans as fast as they can. If you have debt of any kind, you’re probably trying to figure out the best way to pay off loans quickly. There are several tactics you can use to pay down your debt sooner, reducing the financial and emotional cost to you.
If Nothing Else, Make More than the Minimum Payment
Instead of paying only the minimum, pay more towards your debt each month.
Depending on the interest rate on your mortgage or student loans, refinancing your loans to get a lower rate might make sense. If you have years to go on your mortgage and don’t plan on selling your home during that time, and the interest rate you can get today is considerably lower than your current rate, refinancing the loan can help you save money, even though you will need to pay closing costs and other fees.
In the case of credit card debt, transferring your balance from a card with a high-interest rate to a card with a lower or no interest rate can help you pay off your debt more quickly and save you money. Just make sure to read the fine print carefully, so that you know when or if the interest rate on the new card will increase and what, if any, fees the card charges for a balance transfer.
Try the Debt Snowball Method
Using the snowball method, you focus on paying off the debt with the lowest balance first. While you’re focusing on that debt, you make the minimum payment on your other loans. Once you’ve paid off the first debt, you put the monthly amount you were spending on it towards the debt with the next smallest balance. You continue the process until all of your debts are gone.
Tackle the Highest Interest Rate First
The other option when paying off your loans is to target the debt with the highest interest rate first. While it might take you longer to pay off a bigger, more expensive loan than it would a smaller loan, doing so saves you money in the long run. Once you’ve paid off the big loan, you use the money that went to that loan each month to pay down your remaining debts.
Stop Taking on Debt
There’s one thing that’s worth remembering when you’re paying off loans. Don’t take on more debt while you’re working to get rid of what you already owe. Stop using your credit cards to make purchases. Instead, try to pay for everything in cash or with your debit card. If you are struggling to make ends meet, take a look at your budget to find places where you can cut back. You might have to cut back on getting coffee every day or find a less expensive place to live.
Depending on the amount you owe, getting out of debt can seem like a long road ahead. But you have options for reducing the amount you need to pay over time, from refinancing to paying more each month.