Roll several debts into one

If you’re carrying a balance on a few accounts, it can be easy to lose track of what you’ve paid and when. If you’re letting payments slip through the cracks, instead of letting interest pile up on your various lines of credit, you might consider a debt consolidation plan.

By taking out a new, lower-interest loan to pay off your various creditors, you can then focus on making a single payment on one big loan instead of juggling credit cards and loans with different due dates and balances.

Just keep in mind that you’ll often need a decent credit score (at least 670) to qualify for a better interest rate than what you’re paying currently.

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Try the snowball or avalanche methods

If it doesn’t make sense to consolidate your loans, there are a couple of other cool techniques you can try out to manage multiple debts.

The snowball approach suggests you start by clearing the account with the lowest balance first. You’ll still keep making your minimum payments on all your other debts, but put any extra you have into tackling your most manageable debt first. This will help you build momentum before moving onto the more difficult debts. But you also run the risk of accruing high interest from the more expensive loans in the meanwhile.

On the other end of the spectrum is the avalanche method. That’s when you start with the loan with the highest interest rate. This could be more helpful in saving you money in the long-run, but it’ll also take longer for you to see significant progress.

Negotiate with your lender

If your sky-high interest rate is keeping you stuck in a cycle of debt, there’s no harm in reaching out to your credit card issuer and asking for a better deal.

Together, you could come to a compromise — whether that’s having them waive or reduce your monthly minimum payment, reduce the amount you owe in interest, come to a forbearance agreement or ditch past late fees.

Some lenders may even agree to settle your debt outright with a lump sum payment.

Be prepared to lay out your financial situation and have your records handy. Odds are, your issuer’s more likely to compromise and work with you rather than risk you defaulting on the account and not paying anything.

Just make sure that you’re able to stick to the terms of the new plan before you agree to it — you don’t want to lose your creditor’s trust or worsen your debt load.

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About the Author

Serah Louis

Serah Louis

Senior Staff Writer

Serah Louis is a senior staff writer with MoneyWise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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