Life Is Good When You're Free of Credit Card Debt
The 2 best methods for cutting it down
Pick a card, any card--that’s how you feel whenever you get a paycheck and know you need to devote a hefty portion of it to whittling down your credit-card debt.
But there are two strategies to consider: the “snowball,” in which you pay off smaller credit-card debts first, and the “avalanche,” in which you start with the card that has the highest interest rate and go from there.
We checked in with our friends at the financial-planning firm Stash Wealth to get the lowdown on each method so you can choose the one that’ll work best for you.
Pros of the Snowball Approach:
It’s all about momentum. Since the idea is to focus the bulk of your payments on the smallest debt first (for example, the $700 you racked up on your J.Crew card), you’ll feel like you’re winning with each credit card you pay off.
You can cut the number of bills faster. Think of it this way: Once you pay off that J.Crew card, it’s out of your life for good. And one less minimum monthly payment means you’re one step closer to financial freedom.
You’re more likely to stay disciplined. It’s a confidence thing. When you tackle the easier cards first, you’ll feel like you’re making progress, which helps pump you up to face larger debts.
Pros of the Avalanche Method:
It’s more cost effective in the long run. High-interest loans are the worst. If you tier your debt obligations from highest (your 21.99% APR Visa card) to lowest (your 3% student loan), you’ll ultimately come out ahead dollar-wise
You’ll get out of debt faster. It’s simple: Cards with higher interest rates accrue debt more quickly than cards with lower ones. The sooner you get rid of high-interest balances, the faster you’ll start making a dent.
You’ll have more money in your pocket. Just keep your eyes on the prize.
The avalanche method is best if saving money is your top priority. But, if small victories are the only way you’ll stay motivated, by all means go snowball. Whichever you choose, a commitment to being debt-free is majorly commendable.