Making The Move: 5 Steps to Start Paying Off a Large Debt

Paying off a sizable debt, or collection of debts, is a big problem for a lot of people. Fortunately though there are some simple steps that, if properly applied, can have an immediate and noticeable effect on what someone owes.

1. Focus on One Debt

Many sources suggest picking the debt with the highest interest rate to pay off first, while others suggest paying off the debt with smallest balance and then snowballing payments into other debts. Whichever method one chooses, it’s best to focus on paying off a single debt and then working on the others once that’s completed.

2. Negotiate With The Debt Holders

One of the biggest mistakes that people with debt make is ignoring invoices and not communicating with their creditors. Creditors want to be paid, and more often than not those in debt want to pay off what they owe; it’s just that many times they can’t. Contacting a creditor and working out some kind of payment plan can result in lower interest rates, lower monthly bills, and an easier way to pay off debt. The worst they can say is no, and if that happens someone is no worse off than they were before.

3. Consolidate Your Debts

While it’s not a good idea to take out a new loan to pay off old debts if that loan is harder to pay off than the debts one already has, it is a good idea if that loan has a lower interest rate and monthly payment though. Before consolidating any debts sit down with a calculator and some paper to work out the numbers and to figure out just how much more one option will cost than the other in both the short term as well as in the long term.

4. Pay More Than The Minimum

One of the quickest ways to pay off is to send in a check for more than the minimum monthly balance. Anything additional that’s paid will eat into the principal rather than paying off interest, which will also result in the amount of interest one is paying going down a lot more quickly. This means the debt can be paid off faster, and that it will cost less money overall than it might have. Be careful though, because some loans have early repayment fines which might render this an ill-formed plan.

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Transfer Debt

This is a particularly solid strategy for those who have credit card debt. Often times one card will allow a balance to be transferred to it, and it will charge no interest on that balance for as much as a year. This can be a good way for those who have large credit card debts to get some relief, and to pay down a debt more quickly since they aren’t scrambling to keep up with the interest.

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