If you have multiple debts to pay back, it can be hard to manage them all. But if you consolidate your debt, it’s much easier—and less stressful—to make monthly payments.
This article will cover the steps of consolidating your debt and show you how to get started using various debt consolidation loans.
Get your credit score.
Getting your credit score is an essential first step in paying down debt. Your credit score is a numerical value that represents the creditworthiness of an individual or business.
It’s based on information from your credit report, which includes information such as:
• How much money you have borrowed
• The types of loans you have taken out (e.g., mortgage, auto loan) and how many times you have defaulted on those loans
• Whether or not you make timely payments on those loans
Figure out how much debt you have.
To get started, you’ll need to list all your debts. You can make a spreadsheet in Excel or use an online tool like Mint.com to track them (and other expenses).
Ensure you include the amount you owe, how much interest each debt incurs, and how much cash flow—i.e., income minus costs—you have available to pay down these debts each month.
Next, list all of your monthly payments in one column and determine how many payments you can reasonably afford to make on each debt every month without sacrificing too many basic living expenses: rent/mortgage; groceries; utilities; transportation costs such as car insurance, gas, and public transportation; phone service; Internet access (if applicable); cable TV or streaming services (if applicable).
Find good deals on consolidation loans.
● Find a loan with low-interest rates.
● Look for a loan with low fees.
● Look for a loan with a flexible repayment schedule. You may be able to make payments once or twice per month, depending on your income and budget.
● Look for a loan with a low minimum balance. The less you have to pay back each month, the better.
● Look for an easy payment plan that fits your budget and lifestyle (e.g., no prepayment penalties).
Select a loan and apply for it.
Debt consolidation loans can be one of the most effective ways to repay your debts.
The first step is simple: find a lender with the best low-interest rate, origination fee, and monthly payment.
Lenders that offer lower rates will be able to offer you a better deal on your monthly payments—so keep an eye out for that sweet spot between APR and APY (annual percentage yield).
If the lender has a website or Facebook page, look for reviews from customers who have used its services. You can also check for any negative news coverage about the company’s practices regarding debt consolidation loans.
Use the money to pay off your debt.
Once you’ve figured out how much money you can afford to put toward your monthly debt, it’s time to prioritize where that money goes.
How do you decide which debts should get paid off first? There are several methods of prioritizing, but these are the most common:
● Pay off credit cards with higher interest rates first. This is probably the most popular method because it saves you the most interest payments—but only if you have enough money left over after paying off all other debts. If not, then you can also use the below to give recommendations.
* Pay the loan with the highest balance first and work your way down. Since this method helps pay off more than one loan at once (which is excellent), it saves people more money than simply paying off their highest-interest debt due to fewer interest payments.
* Pay down loans based on their annual percentage rate (APR) rather than their overall balance or payment amount. This method might help some borrowers because they don’t know what percentage rate they’re paying for each loan but could quickly look up those numbers online if necessary.
* Use any extra funds toward paying off lower-balance loans first so you can free up more cash when tackling more enormous debts or begin saving for emergencies sooner rather than later.
Consolidating your debt can make it easier to manage.
There are a few ways you can consolidate your debt:
● Taking out a loan. This method is the easiest and fastest but also the most expensive. You’ll have to pay interest on your loan, making it harder to get out of debt.
It’s best to use this method only if you’re already in good financial standing and have an excellent credit history.
● Getting a credit card with a low-interest rate. This option is more affordable than taking out an unsecured private loan, but risks are still involved since most cards charge high-interest rates (usually between 15% and 25%).
If you don’t pay off your balance every month, these charges will quickly add up until they outweigh any benefits from having lower monthly payments.
Consolidating your debt can be an excellent way to manage it more effectively. With the right tools and a little work, you can ensure that your finances stay in order when trying to pay off overwhelming debt.