There are several principles to employ when managing accrued debt, and making plans to pay off debt. While these can be accomplished by filling out a plan on paper, some people prefer to use software to develop a plan to payoff debt legally. The benefits are that it is easily managed in your computer and it becomes much easier to view the overall picture, and ability to view the projected savings can be a good motivation to continue.
There are several factors to consider when developing your personal debt payoff plan. First, you need to honestly consider your current and potential earnings and your total monthly expense for your current debts. If you are behind on payments, or if your income doesn’t adequately cover your current obligations, it may be wiser to seek a debt consolidation loan. The goal of such a loan is to bundle high-interest debts together and lump them into a single loan of lower interest, thereby lowering the monthly payment so that it becomes more manageable. The danger is that the “extra money” each month is no longer going to reduce debts, and particularly if it creates the illusion of having more money to spend and lulls the consumer into acquiring more debt, the overall financial position becomes worse in the end. In the hands of responsible consumers and those who must reduce monthly payments in order to survive, it can be very beneficial.
If you are fortunate enough to have income sufficient to meet your current obligations, a better choice for overall financial health can be a debt stacking repayment plan. The benefits of debt stacking are that the overall amount spent on monthly payments does not increase, but the time needed to become debt free is reduced, along with a substantial savings in overall monies paid to debtors due to less interest being paid over those years you save.
The principle is to list all of your debts and the amounts being paid. Generally, you will list these in the order they will be paid off under your current monthly plan. It can be beneficial to adjust this to list debts with higher interest rates first, especially if they can be paid off within a reasonable amount of time. A caveat here … often credit card companies will require only a very small monthly payment relative to the overall debt owed, and usually charge the highest interest rates. These debts should be paid off as quickly as possible, so it is better to allocate more funds each month than the minimums required and most importantly, DO NOT further increase your debt by continuing to use those cards!
Any debt that can be paid off, particularly those with higher interest rates, should be concentrated on first (while of course making payments as required to all of the others). If any extra money is available, it is usually best applied this debt. If you use some money each month for investment or savings, it is usually a better return to apply this money to your debts instead, once you have a sufficient amount in your savings account to cover an emergency situation (usually about two months’ worth of expenses). The reason for this is that the interest you pay on your debts probably far exceeds the interest you receive on savings or the return on any investments.
Concentrate on paying off one debt at a time. As soon as that one is paid off, take all of the money you had been sending each month to that creditor, and add it to the payments you are sending to the second creditor, increasing the amount paid for the second debt. This will of course result in the second debt being paid off even sooner. When that one is repaid, take all of that money and add it to the amount being paid to the third creditor, and so on. By the time you reach your longest-term or lowest-interest bill (usually the home mortgage in both cases) you will be able to send considerably more than the regular monthly payment, and will pay down the principal much more quickly than with your regular payment schedule. Your mortgage (along with all of your other debts) should be paid off years sooner than it would otherwise be, saving you a substantial amount of interest.
You will then be debt-free, often in far less time than your mortgage was scheduled to run. The savings for each person will vary, of course, depending upon your personal debt profile, but for almost everyone the savings of both time and money will be significant. If it is possible for you to use a debt stacking plan, you can be debt free in much less time than with traditional repayment methods and save substantially on interest.
Watch this video about debt management planning and options: