Are you making this Debt Mistake?

A few years ago, my husband and I decided to start killing off our debt as aggressively as we could. But for a long time we were making a big debt mistake that was holding us back from paying off our debt as fast as possible. Are you making this same debt mistake? Read this post to find out if this debt mistake is stopping you from paying off your debt.

Are you making this Huge Debt Mistake? I was! It was holding me back from paying off my debt for years! Now, my debt is almost gone! You have to read this!

Are you making this debt mistake?

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I’d like to remind you that I’m not a financial advisor. I’m just a plain old person that, along with my husband, has decided to aggressively kill off my debt and I’m getting closer to being debt free every day. For years, I struggled with my finances and felt suffocated by my debt. I really thought I’d just have to accept that I’d be in debt forever.

Of course, I don’t have to be in debt forever. I’ve made some smart changes to my financial situation and I’m getting pretty close to being debt free. I want to tell you everything I can about the mistakes I’ve made along the way so you can benefit from them and avoid making those same mistakes.

If you’re interested, you can read more about my financial story here.

Debt Basics

If you’re just starting to pay off debt you may be wondering where to start. If that’s you, I’m going to direct you to my previous post The 2 Ways to Pay Off Debt: which one is right for you?

This post explains the two main strategies for paying off debt and how to decide which strategy you should choose based on your specific situation and mindset.

This post isn’t about how to choose a debt payoff strategy. Instead, it is going to be focused on a vital aspect of both strategies. Whichever strategy you’ve decided is right for you, you want to be careful not to make this mistake.

Related: Emotional Debt: Feelings can help your Finances

Here’s the mistake…

Paying “a little bit extra” to each debt.

This only applies to you if you have more than one debt.

If you have available funds that you want to devote to paying off debt, you should not be spreading that amount across all of your debts. If you do this, it will not have that big impact that you want it to. It’ll be slightly better than only paying the minimum payments. But it just isn’t going to help you pay off your debt as quickly as possible.

Are you making this Huge Debt Mistake? I was! It was holding me back from paying off my debt for years! Now, my debt is almost gone! You have to read this!

What should you do instead?

Instead of spreading your money around to pay a little extra to each of your debts you put all of the extra you can towards one single debt.

Continue to pay the minimum payment to all of your loans, but only pay extra to one.

Which debt should you pay extra to? That depends on which debt payoff method you’ve decided is right for you. If you’re using the debt snowball, you’d devote all of the extra you can to your smallest debt. If you’re using the debt avalanche, you’ll devote your extra money to your highest interest debt.

By making a higher payment to that one debt you’ll end up paying it off faster. Then, once that debt is destroyed, you’ll move on to your next debt and devote all the extra money you can to that debt.

Are you wondering how to come up with extra money to put towards your debt? Consider doing a spending freeze!

Resources to help you destroy your debt

These are some great books that have helped me learn about how to be strategic when paying off debt.

The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living by Anna Newell Jones

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

My final thoughts

Don’t feel discouraged if you’ve been making this debt mistake for a long time. I did this for years!

Instead, be proud of yourself for spending the time researching and learning about how to improve – you’re reading this blog, after all!

Start today. Take a look at all of your debts. You can organize your debts using the free printables in my Keep your Money Resource Library. And then set a strong plan for paying off your debt!

You can do it!

Subscribe to the Keep your Money Resource Library

Want more? Here are some of my best posts:

How to create a Savings Schedule you can stick to {free printable}

The Easiest Way to Save Money on Food

How to Analyze and Cut Expenses

3 Tips to cut your Electric Bill in Half

How to determine your Financial Priorities

You can read more about my story here: A Spender and A Saver Fall in Love

Click here to get access to all of the resources you need to start saving today!


5 Tips to Spend Less on Groceries


5 Books Every Blogger Needs to Read


  1. Great post! When I first started paying off my student loans I just set up auto-pay and let it spread the extra payment over all the loans. But when I took a closer look, I noticed that most of that extra money was being applied to interest, not to the principal amount! Even though it takes more effort to manually apply the extra payment to the right loan, it’s so worth it for me. I’m already down two loans and will be finishing up a third in just a couple months! Thanks for sharing this information with the rest of the world – it’s so important!

  2. Oh man, I’m glad it never even occurred to me to approach my debt that way. I was just super lucky that before getting heavily into personal finance, it seemed logical to completely destroy one and then another. I can only imagine how frustrating it would’ve been to feel like I was making a good choice and paying extra towards a debt only to have it barely make any difference.

  3. I saw a study lately that said snowball was most effective because psychology, but the math of not doing avalanche makes me cringe!

  4. I agree that it’s harder to see any traction when you spread your extra payments across multiple debts. Whether you choose the snowball or the avalanche, seeing progress in your debt going down is an important way to stay motivated.

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