Although you make regular payments on your mortgage, home equity, student loan, personal loan, and/or car loans, it may be difficult to track your progress on paying down this debt, especially if you’re juggling multiple loans at one time. Luckily, there are simple ways to determine how large of a dent you’ve made – and how you can make it even bigger. 

Understand your statement

Whether you receive paper or online statements, most loan providers will give you these specific pieces of information on each statement:

  • Original principal amount: How much you originally borrowed from your lender
  • Current interest rate: The rate that is paid by you for the to the lender to borrow the money
  • Current balance: The amount you currently owe
  • Fees assessed: Fees you have been charged for late or insufficient payments, collections or additional services
  • Annual percentage rate (APR): The yearly percentage rate expressing the total finance charge on a loan over its entire term. The APR includes the interest rate, fees, and other financing costs, and is therefore a more complete measure of a loan's cost than the interest rate alone.
  • Total paid: How much of the principal and how much interest you have paid over a period of time, typically year-to-date
  • Total payoff amount: How much it would cost to pay off your loan by the date listed on your statement

Pay extra principal when possible to pay down your debt faster

By comparing the amount you currently owe to the amount you originally borrowed, you can get a good idea of how much progress you’ve made on your loan. Your statement also shows how much in principal you’re paying from period to period. If you can add a little more to your monthly payment to go towards principal, you will decrease the total cost of your loan and pay it off faster.

 Tip 

Access a free credit report once a year from any of the three consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

Understand your home’s equity

To figure out how much equity you have in your home, deduct the balance of your mortgage from the value of your property. Because the value of your home may change over time, it’s important to have the home appraised if you’re applying for a home equity loan or refinancing your first mortgage.

Knowing where you stand with all of your loans will help you formulate a repayment plan that will get you the most from your money. To find ways to pay your debts faster, look for ways to track your spending and pay down debt.

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The interest rate by itself is the complete measure of a loan's cost.

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