I hate owing money to anyone…it doesn’t matter who it is or what I bought. It’s like being stuck in a hole I both dug and willingly jumped into.
Oh wait, it’s exactly like that.
Sometimes, debt is unavoidable — buying a house outright is something I’d love to be able to do (one day), but right now, a mortgage is the best and only option that makes homeownership possible.
Or sometimes it’s an emergency that strikes you down despite your best efforts to hedge your bets through savings.
Sometimes debt is the promise of a 20% off coupon every month for beautiful albeit overpriced lingerie, or 25,000 travel points toward the destination of your dreams, or just failing to read the fine print and getting in way over your head.
Whatever the reason for your debt, now is the perfect time to make a plan to make your debt your bitch.
This week you’re going to get a handle on your debt by establishing a debt-free deadline and the plan that’s going to get you there as part of NextGen MilSpouse’s You Got This: 52 Challenges to Make 2016 Your Bitch.
Week 3 Challenge: Set a Debt Free Deadline & Make a Plan to Get There
Challenge Details: Take 1 to 2 hours to establish a goal to be debt free by X date and print out your PowerPay plan to make it happen. You’ll need to gather all of your current debt-related information including your current balances, minimum payments, interest rates and the amount of extra cash you have to put toward paying down your debt. Don’t forget to have your monthly spending plan handy, too!
Your Deadline: January 25
Bonus points if you post a photo of you and your debt free deadline on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using #2016isMyBitch #IGotThis
Your Debt Free Deadline: Unleash the power of PowerPay
It’s not a fancy site, but PowerPay is my favorite tool for getting rid of debt by far.
Start by entering information about each debt you have and make sure you only enter your MINIMUM PAYMENT in the “Payment” box. Make sure you save changes after you input each account.
Once you’ve entered all of your debt information you can click on the “Extra Payments” Tab. This is my favorite tab. Typically, we all try to pay more than just the minimum payment…but have you ever wondered if the extra money you’re paying is going to the right debt payment?
Check this out:
In this example, this person has an extra $200 set aside every month in their monthly spending plan to put toward debt reduction. In April, they expect that they’ll receive a $1,000 tax refund that they want to put toward debt reduction, too.
If you ever find yourself with money from a birthday or anniversary or an unexpected windfall, PowerPay can help you determine the best use of your extra cash.
Now, you might be wondering,
Why does it matter which order I pay off my debts?
Good question. Typically, you want to pay off your highest interest rate debt first…the higher the interest rate, the more money you’re spending paying interest each month on the remaining balance. Even though that’s usually the rule, debt balances have to be considered as well.
Fortunately, PowerPay calculates debt repayment plans that take into account paying off
- highest interest debt first
- lowest balance first
- shortest term first
and shows you how much you’ll save in interest and your payoff time for each plan.
In addition to showing you how much you’ll save and how long it’ll be until your debt free, PowerPay also gives you a calendar that breaks down how you’re divvying up your debt repayment payments (say that three times fast) each month.
Pro-tip: If you’re trying to pay down debt on a credit card, you can’t keep charging purchases to that card…or any other loan or line of credit. Read our lips: No new debt!
Are you ready to get started on your debt-free deadline? Have any questions or advice about drop-kicking the debt in your life? Share them with us in the comments section below!