I have a question, what should I focus on paying off first, my credit cards or my loans?
My credit cards have ZERO interest for at least 12 more months and the balances are not very high.
My loans are charging interest and it is possible to pay one or both off in the next 10 months allowing me time to possibly pay off the zero interest credit cards.
I am just not sure if I should focus on the credit cards or the loans. My goal is to reduce my monthly payments every month by paying off the credit cards and the loans. The minimum due monthly on cards is around $50 and the minimum due on loans is $515 so clearly getting rid of the $515 a month would lighten the monthly load more. But is that the right thing to do?
I don’t think there is a WRONG way to pay off debt, however, I know that I found it far more motivating to pay off the small ones first. Others would say to pay off the higher interest ones first. Its really whatever works for you!
I have decided to get rid of my car payment first. I have already added an extra $125 to my normal payment each month starting in March. I am also going to make an extra $500 a month payment each month or more if I can to pay it off. At this rate, it will be paid in 7 months or by October. This will free up an extra almost $400 a month for me to save or enjoy as I please.
Then I will focus on the credit cards to avoid interest and then my personal loan. I could be in excellent financial shape by Christmas but not sure how happy I will be.
If nothing else I can then focus on having fun and doing more things I enjoy in 2021 with minimal debt.
I will be paying a little extra on the credit cards each month until the car loan is paid, and regular payments on the personal loan.
@rickcampbell There are a couple schools of thought on this one. Economically speaking, it makes the most sense to pay down the highest interest rate. However, psychologically that can be a daunting task if that loan or credit card has the highest balance. It can feel like you aren’t moving the needle and can cause people to give up.
However, understanding debt strategies can help you get those debts paid down faster. I’ve included a blog post that will help bring clarity and provide a method of debt repayment that makes sense for you personally.
The snowball method is psychologically effective because you are actually seeing progress.
Sort your bills from smallest payoff to largest. Concentrate on paying off the smallest ones, while making minimum payments on the largest. As you pay off smaller ones, take those payments and add them to the next smallest. After that one is paid off, take those payments and add to the next…it is like a snowball rolling down hill.
Example: You have 5 bills; $50, $150, $250, $500 and $100 all with $50 minimum payments. Make your $50 payment first month, and the smallest is paid off ($100, $200, $450 and $950 remain on the others). Next month, pay the $50 plus the $50 from the paid off and minimum on the others. You now have 2 paid off and $150 to apply to the 3rd bill, which will pay that one off the next month, and so on…
I agree completely with what your saying and I did that when cleaning up my credit and getting back on my feet. It works and by getting the rewards and success of paying a bill off really encourages you to keep going.
At this point I think getting rid of the constant never wagering car loan will be best. On my credit cards if the minimum due is $25 I can pay that or any amount more in case I need to focus my money on something else or an unexpected expense.
The auto loan is a little less than $400 every month minimum, so if an unexpected expense occurs I can’t just pay $25 and focus on something else.
I am going to focus on the auto loan first, then my cards before interest kicks in, and also the personal loan.
I think once these are paid off I am going to spend time traveling and staying within my monthly available free income.
That’s my plan pretty much, it may vary a little depending on when interest starts on the cards and if I have time to pay the personal loan off first or do the cards then the personal loan after, this is after the auto is paid first.