Debt Payment Plan, Part VI of budgeting…

If you don’t have any debt, you can skip this section.

OK, so now that you are still here, let’s keep moving. 🙂

Most readers are going to find that creating a debt payment plan is an important part of their movement toward financial freedom.  If you have credit card debt, student loans, car payments, personal loans, or any other type of loan payment it’s time to chip away at the debt and become payment-free, by creating a debt payment plan.  dollarcircle

First, get out all of your monthly bills and look at all of your recurring payments.  Put the statements in order of smallest total balance to largest total balance.  Then, look at the minimum payments for each one.  Rather than trying to pay more than the minimum on each card, focus on paying them off one at a time.  Of course, you will still need to pay at least the minimum on each card, so as not to fall into arrears.

Where to start?

Start with the one that has the smallest balance, even if it has a higher interest rate than the others. Why? Because getting one paid will give you some momentum for moving forward, and it will also get you some extra money to put toward paying the others. For all the other debts, only pay the minimum payment (and this is very important: stop using those credit cards!)  Then, for the card that has the smallest balance take any extra income you can and put it toward that card until it’s paid off.

Once that first one’s paid off, spend about ten minutes (but no money) congratulating yourself, and then move on to the next lowest balance. Apply the money you previously used to pay on the first card to the minimum amount you already are paying on the second card. This will make your payoff go faster, too. When the second one is paid off, go on to the next one, applying the money you were paying for the first and second one to the third one, along with the minimum you were already paying on number three.  Continue doing this until they’re all paid off.  It may seem like a process that’s difficult and never ending, but once you pay off that first card you’ll feel a little extra motivation.

And….then what?

As we move through the process, there are other steps you can take to help yourself as well. We’ll talk about them in part VII, coming up soon!

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