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How to Payoff Debt: Which Method Should you Use?

Which method is best?Are you ready to get rid of that debt hanging over your head?  Perhaps it feels overwhelming, and you are just not sure what to do.  Sometimes, you hit a block because you don’t know how to payoff debt.  I will share multiple methods that people have used and how you can win at paying off that debt.

Why payoff debt?

Stress Relief-

You owe it to yourself to stop having the weight of debt on your shoulders.  It brings unwanted stress into your life.  Suer you might be able to make minimum payments now, but what if you lost your job? Or you have a major life change?  These things can weigh on a person, so the best thing is to pay down that debt.

Compounding interest

According to Eperian in 2017, the average Student Loa debt is $34,144 and the average credit card debt is $6500.  Below are two examples of what your minimum monthly payment would be, how long it would take to pay off, and how much extra you would be paying in interest.

Student Loans

Principal – $34,144  at 6%interest

Minimum Monthly Payment – $660.16

Time to Pay it Completely, – 5 years

Total Paid – $34,144 in principal + $5461 in interest = $39,605

Credit Card

Principal $6,500 at 13%Interest

Minimum Monthly Payment – $80 a month

Time to Pay it Completely – 16 years, 5 months

Total Paid – $6,500 principal + $9250 in interest = $15,750

Use Minimum payments differently

What if you saved that $660.16 each month for 5 years, and you placed it in a stock market fund that returned 6%?

At the end of 5 years you would have =$47,336.00

And if you just left it sit in that same account after 20 years you would have = $151,812.96

What if you used your minimum payments from your credit card.

$80 a month for 16 years  would be worth $26,125

And if you just left it sit in that same account for an additional 20 years you would have = $83,784.36

You can use those minimum payments to help fund your retirement.  Instead of losing money, you would be letting it work for you!

Pay Off Debt to Live the Life you Want

Debt Payoff Methods

There are two main methods of paying off your debt.  Below are the examples of how use each one.

Debt Avalanche (also known as Debt Stacking)

In this method you list your debts in order by the interest rate.  While still paying your minimum payments on each loan, you would start putting extra money towards the loan with the highest interest rate.

Here is an example:

Visa – 13% – Balance of $6,500

Mastercard – 11% – Balance of $350

Student Loan – 6% – Balance of $10,000

Auto Loan – 5% – Balance of $7,000

You would start by paying off the Visa as fast as you can and once that loan was paid off, you would start taking the minimum payment for the Visa and along with any extra and start applying ti to the Mastercard.  The gain with this method is that you are paying the highest interest loans off first and therefore saving money in interest over the long haul.

Debt Snowball (term coined by Dave Ramsey)

In this method you would start by paying off the debt with the smallest balance, and then move on to the next smallest balance.

Mastercard – 11% – Balance of $350

Visa – 13% – Balance of $6,500

Auto Loan – 5% – Balance of $7,000

Student Loan – 6% – Balance of $10,000

In this example, you would pay off the MasterCard first because the balance is only $350.  You would then use the minimum payment for the MasterCard and the extra and start applying to to the Visa.  Your gain with using this method is that you are paying off the loans faster at the beginning which usually gives you a boost emotionally.

Which Method Should you Use?

Personal finance is personal.  That means that it really is up to your personal preference in which method you want to use.  If your personality is one that wants to look at the numbers and save every penny possible, then the Debt Avalanche is for you.  If you are a person who wants to feel success as soon as possible, then you might want to try the Debt Snowball.

The secret?  It doesn’t really matter.  It is all about paying off the debt and moving forward.  You need to have a plan and you need to work that plan.  So, no matter what plan you choose, no matter how long it takes, it is your plan and you will win at it.

Here is a Free 7 Day Course to Set Goals and Achieve Them.

The Keys to Success for Debt Payoff

Here it is.  Summed up in 4 key pieces.

  1. Know your Numbers
  2. Make a Plan (Part of your plan should include a budget, and ways to invest your money)
  3. Work the Plan
  4. Celebrate along the way

Here are the 6 books that changed my financial life, and helped payoff debt.  Check them out!

Do you have a debt payoff story you want to share?  Click here to share it with me and be featured on Flip the Fail.

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