If you’re like most people with debt, it can feel a little daunting to try to get out from under it. And if you just make minimum payments, you probably wont for a long, long, time. Maybe it’s best just not to think about it at all? Big mistake. We don’t have any get-out-of-jail-free cards, but some of the best ways to pay down debt don’t require painful sacrifice. Here are the best ways to pay off debt that are easy on your monthly budget.
Renegotiate the Rate
One easy way to reduce debt is to renegotiate your interest rate on credit cards. Place a call to customer service and ask to speak with someone about your rate. Be polite, but be firm: You’re unhappy with the rate and is there a way to lower it?
Ask for a supervisor if necessary.
Now let’s put those savings and the extra dollars you earned to work using some of the best ways to pay off debt that are easy to implement.
The Snowball Approach
Just as a giant snow boulder starts with a handful of snow, using the snowball approach, you attack your smallest debts first and work your way up to the big ones. Make a list of your debts and balances like this, from smallest to largest:
$455 store charge card ($45 payment)
$2,000 medical bill ($60 payment)
$5,250 credit card ($140 payment)
$12,000 student loan ($226 payment)
Make only the minimum payments on everything but your smallest debt (store charge card) and direct all of the extra money you can to paying off that small debt. Once that’s done, continue paying minimum payments to all your loans, but now direct as much as you can to the second largest debt (medical bill), and so on, eventually working your way up to the largest debt (student loan).
Biweekly Mortgage Payments
Now that you have short-term debts handled, let’s look at the best ways to reduce debt for the long haul. There are much larger savings available: Making biweekly mortgage payments can yield big savings and financial security.
Instead of paying your mortgage monthly, you make half your regular monthly payment every other week. By doing this, you’ll make 13 payments each year instead of 12 (52 weeks divided by two is 26 half payments).
You’ll increase your monthly payment by 1/12th, but that extra money goes to reducing the loan principal and you’re also not paying interest on the amount you pay early, and that can add up.
If you have a 30-year mortgage for $272,000 at 4.25%, just this one strategy alone can save you more than $34,000 over the course of the loan — and you’ll pay off your house 52 months sooner!
You can apply the biweekly payment strategy to many types of loans. Yes, making biweekly payments can create more work for you, but guess what: AutoPayPlus will make the payments on your behalf to guarantee you never miss one and ensure they’re applied correctly give you the best debt-reduction benefit. Find out more about how biweekly payments are one of the best ways to pay off debt at autopayplus.com
AutoPayPlus can help you pay down debt faster. Withdrawals from your account every other week fit conveniently with paychecks and your monthly budget, while an extra half payment twice a year toward principal reduces interest over the life of the loan. Please visit our website autopayplus.com to learn more.