For this post, we’ve teamed up with our partners at Fairstone
If setting aside time to reduce your debt feels overwhelming, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks and implementing simple changes to get you back on track.
Our partners at Fairstone challenge you to make a plan to get out of debt in 15 minutes or less:
1. Create A List Of Your Debts
Before you can determine the best debt repayment strategy, create a list of all your debts, including credit cards, overdue bills, personal loans and store financing plans. Your list should include minimum payment amounts, interest rates and the total balance owing for each.
Tip: Use the banking app on your phone for a quick snapshot of your debt payments each month.
2. Pick A Debt-Paying Method
Next, find the debt-paying method that’s right for you, so you can decide which debt to tackle first.
Two common and well-known methods to pay off debt quickly are the snowball and avalanche methods:
|Choose This Method If:
– Focus on paying off debt with the smallest balance first and debt with the largest balance last
– Interest rate is not a factor in the order you pay off debt
– Once the first debt is paid off, start paying the next debt with the smallest balance etc.
|– You like to see quick progress
– You’re less concerned about reducing borrowing costs
– Focus on paying off debt with the highest interest rate first
– Balance is not a factor in the order you pay off debt
– Once the first debt is paid off, start paying the next debt with the highest interest rate etc.
|– You’ll stay motivated to continue paying debt even if progress seems slow
– You want to save money on borrowing costs as you pay off debt
If you’re able to, pay down one debt at a time. By doing so, more money will go directly toward the principal of your balance (e.g., the money you borrowed) and less toward interest. However, this may not always be possible to avoid balances from going to collections and you should continue making any minimum payments on loans or credit cards.
3. Determine How Much Money You Can Put Toward Your Debt
Now, you need to know how much money you have available each month to put towards paying off your debts. Start by creating a budget of all your monthly expenses and look for areas where you can cut back on spending so that you have more money for your debt repayment plan.
If you come up short in your budget, try the following:
- Get a part-time job: Earn extra money so you can increase your debt repayments and get out of debt faster.
- Take advantage of extra income: Apply any extra money you receive from bonuses or tax returns to your debt to boost your progress.
- Consolidate debt: Combine multiple bills into one payment. A debt consolidation loan offers a simplified payment schedule and could reduce your interest rate, freeing up more money in your budget.
4. Optional: Build An Emergency Fund
A small emergency fund of about one month’s salary can help you avoid using your credit while you are paying down debt. If your budget allows – factor in savings for unexpected expenses so that you are prepared to cover emergencies and prevent going back into debt in the future.
To get started, set up an automatic transfer of funds into your savings account on a schedule that works best for you – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or on paydays.
No matter how much debt you’re in – there is a way out. Once you are out of debt, redirect the money that was going to debt payments to an emergency fund instead. An emergency fund will keep you afloat when the unexpected arises, like a job loss or car repair, and can prevent you from landing yourself in the same situation again.
Wondering if debt consolidation is right for you? Go to Fairstone.ca and get a loan quote to find out how much money you could qualify for and what your payments might be. No obligation and no impact to your credit score.