Pay Off Your Debt
You can pay off your debt in three steps: Know what you owe, find your payoff strategy, and then track your progress to stay focused.
Step 1: Know what you owe
The first step to paying down your debt is knowing exactly what you have to work through. Seeing the number can be scary, but once you confront it, it’ll be easier to conquer.
Enter debt amounts in the calculator below to see how long it’ll take to pay them off, how much interest you’ll pay and which debts to prioritize to become debt-free faster. Start with just credit cards if that’s what you’re worried about; you can add more debts later.
Step 2: Find a payoff strategy
Here are some common strategies to boost your payoff path:
- Debt snowball: You pay down your smallest debt first, then roll the amount you paid into your first debt into the next largest, building momentum to pay off all your debts.
- Debt avalanche: You pay off your debts with the highest interest rates first with the debt avalanche method. It may save you time and money over the course of your debt payoff.
- Debt consolidation: Debt consolidation is a strategy to roll multiple old debts into a single new one, ideally at a lower interest rate, making payments more manageable or the payoff period shorter. There are a few ways to consolidate debt, including balance transfer cards and personal loans.
- Debt management plan: If you’re facing a mountain of credit card debt and not making much progress, a debt management plan from a non-profit credit counseling agency can help you retake control of your debt by cutting your interest rate and putting you on a repayment plan.
Step 3: Track your progress
NerdWallet offers an app to help you manage your money, track your spending and see progress on your financial goals. Signing up also gives you access to a free credit score and credit report information.