As a self-described credit-oholic, finding a debt management plan was a huge accomplishment for me. After researching numerous Internet sites, and even testing a couple of pay-down techniques, I have found one that works for me.
It’s called the “snowball” method. Trust me when I say that it is working – less than two months into the plan, I’ve paid off over $2200 (my total debt was over $13,000).
Finance professionals suggest choosing one of two snowballing methods.
No matter which technique you choose, you will focus “snowballing” as much extra money as you can come up with one of your debts.
Some professionals suggest tackling debts from the lowest balance to the highest.
If you feel overwhelmed with debt, using this method is probably the best to begin. I’m following the other method of snowballing – working from your highest APR balance to your lowest.
I chose this technique because I have large interest rates I’m working with. If you are dealing with high APRs as well, I suggest trying to negotiate with your creditors for a better rate.
Out of twelve accounts, so far, I’ve been able to reduce my APR on four of them.
In doing so, my order of debts to pay off has changed over the course of two months.
With my number of accounts and the fact that their APRs range from 9.99% to 29.99%, I know using this method will ultimately save me money during my debt payoff.
A great website I’ve found to help you devise a debt management plan is bankrate.com. Under their calculator’s link, go to the debt management plan.
The calculator will give you a detailed print out of when and how much to pay toward each debt. Basically, you will pay the minimum on every card except your highest APR balance.
With that debt, you will throw as much money at it as you can afford.
Once that debt is paid off, you will snowball that additional payment into your next highest APR. So on and so on, until you have paid off your debt.
Bankrate’s plan also takes into account any windfalls you may be expecting, as well as possible raises.
Following this plan, I should be able to pay off my remaining debt in approximately eight months. I also suggest re-calculating your plan after you pay off each balance.
I’ve done this after paying off each of my first two balances – I feel having updated plans will keep me motivated and focused on my goal, even during the months when I can only “snowflake” my payments.