Deciding to tackle your debt can feel overwhelming to many people. However, with the right plan in place you can take back control of your finances and start seeing progress quickly.
There are many different strategies you can implement in order to pay off your debt. Some prefer to pay down higher interest rate cards and loans first and then when those are paid, focus on the lower rate debts. For many, this makes the most financial sense.
However, there is another method called The Snowball Method which works very well for people who want to feel a sense of accomplishment sooner. Seeing debts paid off faster can have a positive psychological effect, essentially making the process more motivating & encouraging to the debtor.
So how does it work?
Basically, you focus on the card with the smallest balance first. Once that is paid, you move on to the next smallest balance, and so forth.
First, you’ll want to look at your monthly finances and find ways to free up some extra funds to put towards that card. Maybe there’s a subscription you can cancel, or find ways to reduce your grocery bill? However you choose to do it, there are lots of ways you can find a few extra dollars here and there to put towards your debt, and eventually it all adds up!
Once the smallest balance is paid off, you don’t want to go and start spending that money you’d been using for the payments. Instead, take that monthly payment, and add it to minimum payment you’re currently making on the card with the next lowest balance. Again, once this card is paid off, you take this monthly payment and apply it to the next card’s minimum payment. You can see how the monthly payments grow larger over time, essentially creating a snowball effect.
Continue to repeat this process until all of your unsecured debt is paid off.
How can I stay out of debt?
This is a question that could have an entire blog post dedicated to itself. However the simplest advice in regards to credit cards is this: get rid of all your extra cards. Most people only need 1 or 2 cards. Having additional credit cards (including specific store cards) just makes it easier to spend beyond your means.
Pay off your balance in full each month, and stick to a budget.
For lots of great resources on budgeting and debt management, you can visit The Credit Counselling Society of Canada here.
What about refinancing?
For property owners who have equity in their home, and large amounts of unsecured debt at high interest rates, refinancing may be an excellent option.