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There are two schools of thought regarding the best way to pay down debt. The first is called snowballing and the second is creating a debt avalanche. What the snowball strategy calls for is concentrating all your resources on first paying off the debt with the highest interest rate. The idea behind this is that it saves you the most money to begin paying off the debt with the second highest interest rate and so forth. Conversely, the avalanche strategy calls for first doing everything you can to pay off the debt with the smallest balance. The experts who favor this approach believe that it works better because when you see you have been able to pay off one of your debts fairly quickly, you will stay motivated to continue paying off the rest. Whichever of these you choose, be sure to continue making the minimum monthly payments on all of your other debts.
The other side of the equation
If you find that it's just not possible to cut your spending enough to both pay down debt and save money, you may have to work the other side of the equation, which means finding ways to increase your income. One simple way to do this is to get a second job.
Our economy has been rebounding and you should find it relatively easy to get part-time work in the hospitality or food service industry or some other retail area. You might not earn much more than $9 or $10 an hour but if you work an extra 20 hours a week this could be $600 or $700 a month. Since this is not income you would be using to cover your living expenses, you could apply all of it to paying down your debts. If you combine this with either the snowball or avalanche strategy, you could be debt free in just two or three years even if you owe $30,000 or more.
There is no time like the present
The most important thing is to begin taking action now. There's the old question of, “How to you eat an elephant with the answer - one bite at a time.” The same is true of stopping debt. No matter how much you owe, you can eliminate it by starting with just one step today. You could begin tracking your expenses, make a list of your debts or just download a smart phone app for budgeting. It really doesn't matter what you do so long as you do something.