Consumers who are saddled with credit card debt along with student loans or mortgages often face hurdles in eliminating their debt quickly and wind up paying more for the interest costs than the principal amount.
After paying for their rent or mortgage each month and other household expenses, many people are left with scant savings. Determining how to save a few extra dollars each month can help borrowers pay down their debt faster and avoid allocating a large portion of their payments to just paying the interest of their loan.
Taking a holistic view of your payment habits helps you identify areas where you garner some extra dollars such as avoiding overdraft fees. Having to fork over late payments stings and also adds up quickly. Forgoing some of your current frivolities can feel like a challenging task, but consumers can attain it without making substantial sacrifices
While some debt such as mortgages and federal student loans impact consumers less because the payments are tax deductible, paying them off sooner is not always beneficial, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate, the NewYork-based financial content company.
"Some debt you should take your time paying off," he said. "There is no sense paying ahead on low rate, possibly tax deductible debt when you can put that excess cash to better use in tax advantaged retirement savings accounts such as your 401k and IRA."
The debt that should be a priority for consumers to eliminate faster are the high interest rate credit cards and other short-term borrowings.
"The longer that type of debt lingers, the more of a drag it becomes on your ability to pursue other financial goals and build wealth," McBride said.
Here are ten tips to accelerate debt repayment sooner.
1. Avoid overdraft fees or late payments
Many consumers are racking up hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees, with many who pay $450 a year, because they have opted in for the coverage for their debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Choosing overdraft protection is not always an advantage for some consumers since excessive overdraft fees drain the budgets of consumers who are already living paycheck to paycheck.
Use an online calendar or another reminder mechansim to ensure your payments are made by the due date. The late charges are hefty and missing payments means the credit card issuer can increase the interest rate, said C.J. Brott, founder of Capital Ideas, a registered investment adviser in Dallas.
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