Pay Off Your Debt

NerdWallet's debt guide can help you diagnose your situation, pick a payoff strategy, track your progress and build a financially healthy life.

Step 1: Get a handle on what you owe

Enter debts below to see how long it’ll take to pay them off, how much interest you’ll pay, and which debts to prioritize to get out of debt more quickly. You can start with just credit cards if that’s what you’re worried about, then return to add more debts later. And NerdWallet can help you track progress if you choose.

Need help gathering data? Get balances and interest rates from your latest credit card and loan statements. Review your credit reports to make sure you haven’t missed any accounts. Note that some debts, like medical bills or payday loans, may not show on a credit report unless you’ve fallen behind on payments.

When will I be debt-free?

Debt 1

Step 2: Calculate how much extra you can pay

« This calculator can help you get a handle on your minimum monthly obligations and identify how much extra you can put toward debt. Once you have an amount identified to help speed payoff, enter it in your debt results above using the slider.

You might be able to gain some wiggle room with these resources:

Step 3: See how payment order affects your payoff date

Your built a debt list in Step 1, then added how much extra you can pay each month.

Now, if you have several debts you’re juggling, check whether using a “debt avalanche” or “debt snowball” payment order would move your payoff date earlier or save you money on interest.

If you’ve shaken loose all the extra money you can and your debt-free date is still in the distant future, you may need to take further steps. Find out about tools such as debt consolidation, and relief options including a debt-management plan or bankruptcy.

What Is a Debt Avalanche?

Comparing debt avalanche and debt snowball

Avalanche and snowball are two different ways to attack debt — one focuses on going after the costliest debt first to save money; the other wipes out small debts first to build momentum.

Should I Consolidate Debt With a Personal Loan?

How to consolidate credit card debt

You may be able to consolidate several higher-interest debts into a single lower-interest loan, to help you pay off the balance faster. Find out how it works and whether it’s for you.

4 Ways to Find Debt Relief

4 ways to find debt relief

The routes range from making a do-it-yourself payment plan to getting help from a credit counselor or consulting a bankruptcy attorney.

Step 4: Track your progress — and plan for life after debt

set goals, track progress


NerdWallet offers an app to help you track your debts, watch them dwindle and celebrate your victories along the way. Signing up gives you access to a free credit score and credit report information as well.


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