If you’re trying to pay off your debt, you might be having trouble. We’ve all been there. Should I pay off my debt or save that money for the future? The answer to that question isn’t always obvious.
Sometimes there’s no right answer. Sometimes it depends.
It depends on things like how you feel. We can get attached to money and we can certainly feel the pain when we part with it. It’s like giving your dog to a dog sitter for a week while you go on vacation.
Don’t feel ashamed or scared. There are many people out there writing about ways to help you pay off debt. You can learn a lot simply by reading. Learn from the experience of others.
There are hundreds of people out there to learn from.
Related Reading: Getting Out of Debt: It’s Not All About You
There are people out there arguing about the debt snowball vs. debt avalanche. They argue how the debt avalanche saves you the most money. “If you’re doing the debt snowball, you’re an idiot,” they’ll say. Those people discount the emotional victory with the debt snowball.
I encourage you to figure out what type of person you are. Do you like to see loan accounts closed? Does it make you happy to be paying off your loans with the highest interest rate?If you're trying to pay off debt, follow in the footsteps of these 12 people. Click To Tweet
If you don’t have much experience with paying off debt, this article is for you. I’ve compiled 12 of my favorite articles written about paying off your debt.
These articles come from bloggers in the personal finance space. These are the people you should be listening to. They’ve paved the road for you. You can follow in their footsteps.
These articles are the best I’ve found when it comes to paying off your debt
Did you know you can pay off your mortgage faster by simply paying a little extra every month? Don’t settle for the minimum payment. Simply paying $100 extra every month will shave years off your mortgage.
This article gives you an easy trick to pay off your mortgage debt in 12.4 years.
Chris explains his plan:
Here’s the plan: every time you get a raise, don’t change your budget to include the new money. Set up your budget as if you never got a raise and instead put that new money every month into prepaying your mortgage.
Like I talked about in the introduction to this post, there’s not really a right answer when you’re paying off debt. Paying off your debt can be an emotional experience. You don’t need to pick the repayment method which maximizes your savings.
For example, if you have multiple student loans, paying off the account with a $500 balance might give you an emotional boost.
On Penny Thots, Jon discusses how you can pick which debt to pay off first.
You have to decide which is more important to you? Is it saving the most in interest charges or making the fastest progress on your debt repayment?
Personally, I go with Option 2. I pay off debts with the lowest balance first. Then I take the unlocked monthly income and pay extra on the next account balance.
I love success stories like these. You can find them all over the web if you look in the right places.
By reading these stories, you give yourself motivational material to push forward when you’re having trouble. Stories about paying off your debt are like those motivational posters and memes you find all over the internet.
Search for these debt pay off stories and use them as ammunition. Return to them and read them again when you’re feeling down.
We can’t alter financial decisions of the past, but we can make smarter ones moving forward.
Although you might be working on paying off your debt, this article might help you in the future.
Should you be taking on debt in the first place? The answer isn’t always obvious.
Debt tempts us everyday. If you haven’t turned them off, credit card companies send you junk mail everyday. Those same credit card companies even offer you free money in exchange for using their cards at the store.
Steve at ThinkSaveRetire explains:
The $729,000,000,000 of credit card debt that murders the futures of Americans is an unfortunate indicator that we don’t know what we’re doing.
In the spirit of why you should avoid debt, I love this article about debt free living. Can living debt free be done while still enjoying your life?
This question intrigues me because I’ve used debt for the last ten years. I attended college with student loans. I have a mortgage. And like it or not, I put most of my purchases on credit cards to rack up the points.
One of the reasons I like this article is its emphasis on credit score. Although you might be living debt free, your credit score is still important.
Pennies And Dollars tells us:
Landlords often use your credit score to determine what kind of renter you are. A good credit score predicts a renter that will pay promptly and in full, helping the landlord avoid one of the biggest headaches of renting.
I enjoy articles like this because of the humor. When you’re paying off your debt, you’re dealing with the decisions of a younger self. In a sense, your money is time traveling.
You made a decision earlier in your life and that decision takes money away from your present day life. When you think about debt that way, it sucks, doesn’t it?
Paying off debt is never fun, but it can be a learning experience. Personally, I’m much more cautious when taking on debt these days. I don’t feel like getting another loan with payback terms of ten years.
Ty from Get Rich Quick’ish writes:
There’s no easy way to say this: you’re a jerk. At least, you used to be. Decisions you’ve made in the past must be paid for today, and guess who gets to pay up? You do.
What if you’re having trouble paying off your debt? You might just not have enough money every month to meet your debt obligations.
Personally, there’s one lesson I’ve learned simply by reading the horror stories of other people: Don’t ignore your creditors. You can’t hide your debt and you can’t run from it.
Deal with your debt like an adult. Take responsibility and you will likely emerge from your debt emergency with pride.
My favorite part of this article is when Gary explains:
If your earnings and career are falling short, then you must look at yourself and see what you need to do to improve.
Taking a look at your earnings and career is a long-term outlook. If you’ve reduced your expenses to the bare minimum and still can’t make it, work on yourself. Take advantage of any and every opportunity you can get your hands on.
When you graduate college and get a new job, it’s pretty common to buy a new car. At least, you’ll likely consider upgrading your clunker.
Is buying a new car and taking on debt the right decision?
I’m not so sure. I bought a car shortly after I left college. At the time, my mind was brainwashed into thinking everyone was buying a new car. In the end, I made a relatively emotional decision.
Alternatively, I could have purchased a much cheaper used car or fixed the car I currently owned at the time. After all, I only paid off my car loan last year – that’s a long time to carry debt.
If you’re thinking about buying a new car, this story is a great read.
I love this article because of its great use of “@#$.” But really, this is an article about debt.
One way you can start paying off your debt faster is by being cheap. Cut down your lifestyle to the bare-bones and refuse to buy anything.
Don’t go out to eat. Don’t buy new clothes. And certainly don’t get any new credit cards.
Jim tells us:
For example, I would go out to dinner with a group of friends and just pick up the check. Yes, I was working (part-time), but there’s no way that I could have afforded to do this, particularly on a regular basis.
That’s not cheap and Jim explains how he changed his ways in the future.
Don’t feel like you have to be a big spender around your friends. Most people simply won’t notice. If they do, they might not be the right people to hang around with.
One of the reasons this article is so great is because of the diverse set of responses. Basically, Steve from My Family On A Budget took part in a long message board thread about investing vs. paying off debt.
For his answer, Steve talks about focusing on JUST ONE THING. If you’re paying off debt, do that. Don’t worry about saving money for retirement.
Basically, if you spread your money too thin, you won’t get anything done. Your nest egg won’t grow because you aren’t putting much money into it. Plus, your debt will stay there for 20 years because you’re not paying the most money available to you.
Listen to Steve:
We never got the traction to move forward until we decided to focus on doing one thing at a time with ALL of our effort. By putting all of our money towards one loan at a time, we knocked it out much faster than we expected because we got excited and wanted to see it gone.
Make sure you jump into the article and read all of the responses. There’s some great material here that will likely apply to any of you.
This is a short article, but I believe its one worth reading. There are a lot of people out there who view debt as only a bad thing.
On Retire Before Dad, debt isn’t considered a bad thing. If your mortgage interest rate is low enough, there may be no good reason to pay off your debt early – even with two mortgages.
It’s important to form your own opinion on debt. You can read and use what you learn to develop your own views. Everyone is different.
Like I’ve said before, reading success stories is great for your health. These stories give you that extra push you need to get started and demolish your debt.
One of my favorite parts of this story is when Bobby explains how he tried to outsmart the system:
This was my first attempt at paying off my loans quickly. I thought I could outsmart the system and pay less in interest if I made a bunch of small payments.
Funny, right? I’m sure many of us have tried to search for little hacks to beat the systems in our lives. It’s too bad his small payments didn’t work!
Bobby talks about the importance of an emergency fund before you get started paying off your debt. I agree. Personally, I try to have 3-4 months of expenses which would give me a B on my emergency fund report card.
There are a ton of different ways to approach paying off your debt. Whether you have student loans or credit card debt, there are people out there taking the same steps.
Like I always say, you’re not alone. There’s always at least one other person out there in the same situation. Search those people out. I bet you can find something to read to give you hope.
If you’re trying to pay off debt, being a cheap @#$ might be an option. Make sure you have an emergency fund before you get started. And focus – don’t lose focus. Without focus, it’s hard to achieve anything in life.
Bookmark these debt success stories. These people have been generous enough to share their success in paying off large amounts of debt. Use their success stories as extra motivation.
My wife and I are in the same boat as you. We’re currently paying off $20k+ in student loan debt. It’s a challenge, but we’re staying 100% focused on paying it off.
Good luck on your debt repayment journey. You will take a slightly different route but you’ll end up at the finish line victorious. Join us all – we’re all headed in the same direction!
Do you have any articles about paying off debt which have inspired you? Share them with us in the comments below.