If you find that you’re paying down your debt each month but your balance doesn’t seem to budge, you may want to take a look at your payment strategy. Here are a few tips to help you make more headway:

Organize your debt

Not all types of debt affect your finances equally. To figure out what’s making the biggest impact on your budget, collect recent statements from all of your creditors. Write down the creditor, amount owed, monthly payment, and interest rate on your accounts. Knowing which debts have the highest minimum monthly payments and interest rates will help you determine which debt is costing you the most.

Prioritize your payments

One strategy that may help you reduce your debt the fastest is to pay the minimum on all of your debts each month – except for the one with the highest rate. On that debt, pay as much as you can afford. Once this debt is eliminated, you move to your next highest interest rate debt, paying more than the minimum. You continue this process until all of your debt is cleared. This may save you money on interest payments and those savings may help you reduce that debt faster. To maximize the amount you can save on interest payments, examine your monthly budget to see where you can cut back, and put that money toward your debts. You might be surprised to see how quickly your debt begins to drop.

Consolidate your debt

If you’re dealing with multiple debts, you may want to consider debt consolidation, or combining all of your debts into a single loan. This may allow you to pay off your debt with one monthly payment, which is often much lower than all of your previous monthly payments combined. Depending on your payment strategy, you may end up paying this consolidation loan for a longer period of time, so take a look at how these extended payments will impact your financial plan.

Once you’ve determined the best way to pay down your debt, you may want to think about how much debt you can comfortably afford. Tools, such as the Debt Consolidation Calculator, can provide additional guidance. This can help you estimate your options and help you make smart financial decisions for the future.

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