Here are some of our favourite tips to set you up for debt payoff success.
List out your interest rates
You can’t get started if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. More than one-third of us don’t know our credit card interest rates, according to a 2019 Nerdwallet survey. If you can’t rattle off yours, it’s time to log into your accounts or check your latest statement to pinpoint your interest rate for each and every balance you carry.
Doing this now can help you strategize to get that debt paid off faster.
Choose a payoff method
Once you know your interest rates, you can strategize your payoff plan with either the snowball method or the avalanche method.
The avalanche method prioritizes high-interest debt first, helping you pay less interest in the long run by knocking out debts with higher interest rates as soon as possible.
The snowball method gives you a boost of motivation by helping you pay off your lowest balances first.
Never miss a payment
Even if you only make the minimum payment on your balances to start, make sure you pay each and every bill on time, every time. Missing that due date could result in both a late fee and a penalty APR, meaning you could pay up to 30% interest for a while instead of your normal interest rate. Dealing with that penalty interest rate could set your payoff plans back in a major way.
To make it easier to avoid payment disasters, set up automatic payments. You can always make additional payments when you’re able to pay more than the minimum, or adjust the amount for your monthly payments. And if your debt is in a balance transfer promotional period, you’ll want to make sure you can pay off your entire balance during that zero-interest period.
Consolidate your debt or transfer your balance
If you’re having a hard time paying more than the minimum on your debts, consider taking steps to reduce your interest rates. There are two main ways you can do this if you don’t feel like calling every one of your creditors to haggle.
If you have good credit, explore taking out a personal loan in the amount of your high-interest debt like installment loans or credit cards. You may be able to get a loan that breaks your debt into more manageable payments at a far lower interest rate.
Check with your credit card issuer for zero-interest balance transfer offers, which allow you to transfer in your balance from another source of debt to your current account. Zero-interest offer periods can last anywhere between nine and 18 months, typically.