Paying Off Your Debt - Baby Steps

By: Court Tuttle

Some of you probably have thousands of dollars in credit card balances, and others simply have a car and/or house payment. Either one is considered debt because it is money you spent or borrowed because you didn't have the cash to purchase it.

Using credit cards to purchase things you can't afford is not a good thing. Using a mortgage loan to purchase your house is okay, but it is still good to pay off any kind of debt sooner than planned. When you pay off debt early, you eliminate money spent on interest.

So what do you need to know to eliminate your debt, whether it is from credit card or a mortgage loan, sooner than planned? Follow the steps, tips, and suggestions listed below to create a personal debt repayment plan.

The first step is to cut up your credit card. You can't seriously be trying to pay off your debt while you are simply racking up more. You have to stop using them and start using cash instead.

When you use cash or even a check book, you will stop spending as much money because when you run out, you won't be able to buy anything else. This might be hard for the first little while, but you will soon realize how much you are saving.

You will also need to make a budget that includes all of your income and all of your expenses. List all bills and other monthly payments, including credit cards. Put your credit cards bills in order of the highest interest rate first.

After you have made a budget, you will be able to know where you are putting you money and where you are spending too much. Learn to cut back in some areas and free up some cash. Use this money to pay off your first credit card on the list.

Although you will be focusing all of your extra cash on one credit card balance, you still need to make all of the minimum payments on all of your other credit cards. After you have paid off the first credit card, pay off the next one on your list.

If you are going to send in extra payments, be sure to put "apply to principal" on the check. This will ensure that your payment is not held until the next bill is due, and that it is applied to your account immediately. If you bank has a free online bill payment program, use it to send in extra payments without costing you a stamp.

If you can practice great financial control and use your money to pay off debt, you will be surprised how fast your debt will be gone. It is a hard process to begin and stick to, but the financial rewards are incredible for someone that has been in debt.

For those of you who don't have credit card debt, follow the same steps. Begin by making a budget and cut back in some areas to free up some cash. Use that cash to pay more towards your car or mortgage payment.

Pay off your small loans first (car or personal) and then focus on your bigger monthly payments. If you can pay off you car, you will be able to free up that much more cash to put towards your house payments.

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