Just about everyone at one time or another makes a New Year's resolution. If 2016 is the year you'll be focused on financial fitness, balancing your income between boosting your savings and paying down debt will be important.
But what do you do when you're focused on both:
- Saving for a rainy day (or an emergency)
- Paying down pesky high interest rate debt (credit cards)
Do you neglect your savings and pay down your credit card balances? Continue building your savings AND maintain the balances on your credit cards? Or a combination of both?
It's all in the numbers.
We suggest you start by adding up all of your outstanding credit card debt. While you're at it, look at the current interest rate(s) on those cards. Many retail credit cards, for example, begin with a low APR for initial purchases. But once the initial purchases have been made, you may see a much higher rate applied to subsequent purchases. Miss a payment and you could incur a late fee and an interest rate hike. So staying on top of the interest rates and terms is important to your financial fitness.
Next, look at the balances on all of those higher rate cards. You’ll want to pay them off — or down — as soon as possible. If you can, use a combination of your monthly income and savings to pay off a card or two and eliminate them while still maintaining an adequate rainy day fund. If that’s not possible or practical for your situation, look at the highest interest rate card first and calculate how much you'd need to pay every month in order to pay it off in a few months. Then, move to the card with the next-highest interest rate and work your way through your cards.
If this approach will take too much time — longer than a year to pay off all of your credit cards — it may be time to consider consolidating your debt to a lower rate loanDepot unsecured personal loan.
Taking out a personal loan and paying off your credit cards at once eliminates multiple minimum payments and eradicates those high interest cards in one quick step. Better yet, you'll not only be making one payment a month, the interest rate you're paying is likely to be significantly lower than the rate on those credit cards combined. In other words, your monthly payment on a personal loan could very well be less than all of your former minimum payment credit cards combined!
Once your personal loan is in place, if you are diligent and pay MORE than your minimum payment, you'll also pay off the personal loan sooner than expected, all without pre-payment penalties.
Saving money, whether through a traditional savings account — or by consolidating existing debt — is a great way to get fiscally fit in the New Year.
Interested in consolidating your credit card debt? Learn more about our personal loans.
Here are nine more ways a personal loan may be beneficial for you.
Answers to the six most commonly asked questions about personal loans are here.