Smart Ways to Pay Off Your Debt

Smart Ways to Pay Off Your Debt

Gustan Cho Associates are mortgage brokers licensed in 48 states

This ARTICLE On Smart Ways To Pay Off Your Debt Was PUBLISHED ON July 18th, 2019

The obsession people have with living “the good life” creates problems. It tends to give people cause to go into debt. The truth is far too many people have become overly-reliant on credit cards to navigate their day-to-day lives. That’s never a good thing because credit card debt acts as an anchor on a person’s/family’s quality of life.

Living in debt doesn’t have to be a way of life. Depending on the individual’s personal circumstances, there are always ways to get out of debt. It might take time, a lot of work and creative thinking, but there are ways. With that in mind, the information below is intended to offer up a few suggestions as to smart ways to pay off debt or at least make debt much less of an issue.

Living Within One’s Means

If someone is having financial difficulties, it likely has to do with their inability to balance their standard of living with the income they have to support it.

If someone is truly motivated to clean up their debt issues, they might not have to look any further than how they choose to live. In order to pay down accumulated debt, it’s incumbent on the individual to create extra resources. They can accomplish that by adjusting their standard of living downwards or by earning extra income to justify the current standard of living. A little adjustment in rent, car payments, and weekly entertainment can do wonders to create extra cash. Otherwise, a part-time never hurt anyone.

Accelerating Credit Card Payments

People with real debt issues are usually proud owners of more than one credit card. They have likely fallen into the trap of securing more credits with the idea of paying off existing cards with a balance transfer option. That seems reasonable, but what usually happens is they never quite follow through with the original plan. Instead, they simply spend more using new credit cards. It doesn’t take long for the debt amount and number of payments to increase to dangerous levels.

If credit cards are a big part of a person’s debt stress, there are a couple of different credit card payment strategies that might help eliminate credit card debt sooner rather than later. The two strategies that come to mind are the”avalanche” method and the “snowball” method. Let’s discuss this.

1. Avalanche Method

Some experts call this the top-down method. The process starts with the debtor making minimum payments on all credit cards to keep them in good standing. They don’t want to be affecting their credit score any more than necessary. After allocating money for minimum payments, the individual would make an extra principal payment to the card with the highest interest rate. They would continue this process until that credit card is paid off. Then, they would take the total amount that was being paid to the now paid credit card and start making an extra payment in that amount on the card with the next largest interest rate. The process would be repeated until all cards are paid off and hopefully closed.

2. Snowball Method

If the avalanche method works top-down, this is more of a bottom-up option. Using the same premise that the debtor is going to make all the minimum payments and then make an extra principal payment, the extra payment would be made towards the credit card with the lowest balance. Again, as an additional amount is freed up after a credit card is paid, that the total amount would then be applied to the next card in line. The process continues until all cards are paid. The appeal of this method is that it creates a sense of progress as each successive card is paid off. It also works to lower the number of checks the debtor has to issue each month.

The Debt Consolidation Option

The Debt Consolidation Option

While the prior options seek to eliminate debt as fast as possible, the debt consolidation option focuses elsewhere. It is more directed towards relieving the stress someone experiences when they have both too much debt and too many payments.

There seems to be a reluctance among debtors to ask for help. Even if they are willing to ask for help, they don’t always know where to turn. When facing a financial crisis, Brian Talbot from says that a debt consolidation loan is often helpful. He is correct. Debt consolidation loans can effectively improve a debtor’s quality of life by decreasing the amount of time they have to spend fighting debt issues.

Without going into a lot of detail, a short summary of the debt consolidation process seems in order. A debt consolidation loan offers the borrower an opportunity to roll all of their unsecured into one loan and under one lender. While unsecured debt generally refers to credit card debt, some debt consolidation lenders will take unsecured personal loans under consideration.

For the most part, a prospective borrower needs to have a credit score in the fair to good range. They also need a reliable source of income and in some cases, they need to provide some kind of collateral. The collateral request will be made if the prospective lender feels it’s necessary to mitigate risk. Once the loan is approved, the credit card/personal debt is paid off and the remaining payment goes to the new lender.

The Benefits of a Debt Consolidation Loan

In case it’s not evident, a quick discussion about the benefits of a debt consolidation loan might eliminate questions. The benefits include

  • A reduction in the number of payments required to be made each month
  • A probable lowering in the total amount of cash outlay required each month
  • An opportunity to start mending issues with credit score
  • A possibility of getting a lower aggregate interest rate, effectively lowering interest costs
  • A chance to stave off creditors and lower personal stress

Indeed, debt stress does not have to be a part of everyday life. Each individual has the ability to to combat their debt issues if they are willing to address the problem. From strategic payment options to debt consolidation and everything in between, everyone has options that can help them retain financial stability while eliminating stress.

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