Debt is the ultimate killjoy. It can destroy a budget, make long-term financial planning impossible, and shadow every purchase you make with guilt. No one wants to live with that debt burden. But how do you kiss your debt goodbye?
Crawling out from under this mountain won’t be easy, but if you’re ready to realign your priorities and do what it takes, you can shake off debt no matter how large.
Let’s take a look at two popular approaches for paying down debt and explore the pros and cons of each.
The debt snowball method
The snowball approach to getting out of debt was popularized by financial guru Dave Ramsey. It involves focusing on paying off the smallest debt first, and then working on the next-smallest debt until they’re all paid off.
Let’s take a look at how this would work using an example scenario. Say you’ve squeezed an extra $500 out of your budget to channel toward paying down debt and you have the following debts:
- $2,500 personal loan at 9.5% interest; minimum payment $50
- $10,000 car loan at 3% interest; minimum payment $200
- $13,000 credit card debt at 18.99% interest; minimum payment $225
- $18,000 student loan at 4.5% interest; minimum payment $300
In this scenario, the snowball method would have you paying just the minimum payment on all debts except for the smallest. On that, you’d put the extra $500 you have toward quickly paying off the personal loan. Once that’s paid off, you’d take the $550 you were paying toward the personal loan and add it to the $200 you’re paying for the car loan. Now you’re paying $750 toward your car loan and you’ll be kicking it in approximately one year. Keep doing this until you’ve kissed all your debts goodbye!