In general, there are three debt repayment strategies that can help people pay down or pay off debt more efficiently. Pay the smallest debt as fast as possible. Pay minimums on all other debt. Then pay that extra toward the next largest debt.
Rather than focusing on interest rates, you pay off your smallest debt first while making minimum payments on your other debt. Once you pay off the smallest debt, use that cash to make larger payments on the next smallest debt. Continue until all your debt is paid off.
Our recommendation is to prioritize paying down significant debt while making small contributions to your savings. Once you've paid off your debt, you can then more aggressively build your savings by contributing the full amount you were previously paying each month toward debt.
A Critical Number For Homebuyers
One way to decide how much of your income should go toward your mortgage is to use the 28/36 rule. According to this rule, your mortgage payment shouldn't be more than 28% of your monthly pre-tax income and 36% of your total debt. This is also known as the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
The debt avalanche method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then using any extra funds to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. The debt snowball method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then paying off the smallest debts first before moving on to bigger ones.
It's best to avoid using savings to pay off debt. Depleting savings puts you at risk for going back into debt if you need to use credit cards or loans to cover bills during a period of unexpected unemployment or a medical emergency.
What is the 50-20-30 rule? The 50-20-30 rule is a money management technique that divides your paycheck into three categories: 50% for the essentials, 20% for savings and 30% for everything else.
Paying Off Debt Can Help You Retire Early
You can put your income into savings rather than using it to pay bills. That is highly effective if you want to retire early, and even more so if you start saving sooner rather than later. This gives the power of compound interest the ability to work its magic over time.
Put your card in the freezer and create a budget that includes a line item for reducing debt. Get a second job and devote that income to retiring debt. Downsize everything from house to car to nights out on the town. Negotiate a deal with the card company for a lump-sum payment to settle the debt.
A good rule of thumb is to try to pay off any card balance in 36 months, but you might want to see what it will take to pay off the balance in shorter or longer increments of time. Your actual rate, payment, and costs could be higher.
With the debt snowball method, you reward yourself for wins along your debt payoff journey. You pay your smallest debts in full first, then roll the amount used to pay your first debts into paying off your bigger ones — much like rolling a snowball down a hill.
Total Savings vs.
The best way to pay off $3,000 in debt fast is to use a 0% APR balance transfer credit card because it will enable you to put your full monthly payment toward your current balance instead of new interest charges. As long as you avoid adding new debt, you can repay what you owe in a matter of months.
The truth about the debt snowball method is that it's a motivational program that can work at eliminating debt, but it's going to cost you more money and time – sometimes a lot more money and a lot more time – than other debt relief options.
The Rule of 72 is a calculation that estimates the number of years it takes to double your money at a specified rate of return. If, for example, your account earns 4 percent, divide 72 by 4 to get the number of years it will take for your money to double. In this case, 18 years.
Most financial experts end up suggesting you need a cash stash equal to six months of expenses: If you need $5,000 to survive every month, save $30,000. Personal finance guru Suze Orman advises an eight-month emergency fund because that's about how long it takes the average person to find a job.
This suggests you should intend to save 20% of your monthly income or every paycheck. This rule advocates putting 50% of your income toward your essential expenses each month, spending 30%, and then saving the remaining 20%.
You may have heard carrying a balance is beneficial to your credit score, so wouldn't it be better to pay off your debt slowly? The answer in almost all cases is no. Paying off credit card debt as quickly as possible will save you money in interest but also help keep your credit in good shape.
Unfortunately, while it's better to pay a mortgage off, or down, earlier, it's also better to start saving for retirement earlier. Thanks to the joys of compound interest, a dollar you invest today has more value than a dollar you invest five or 10 years from now.
Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.
Debt snowball is a strategy for paying down debts, popularized by personal finance author Dave Ramsey. It involves paying off your smallest debts first, then moving on to the next smallest, and so on. A competing strategy is debt avalanche, which calls for paying off debts with the highest interest rates first.
This means that to afford a $300,000 house, you'd need $60,000.