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 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.
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.
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.
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!
You can do it!
Want more? Here are some of my best posts:
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