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Article: Reduce Your Debt - Getting Started

How to Start Reducing Your Debt

There are several ways to approach paying down debt but, no matter which you choose, taking the first steps today will help set you up for greater success in the future. If you aren’t sure which path is best for you, you can contact a Member Advisor or meet with our Personal Financial Educators for guidance on your journey to being debt free.


Make a plan

  • One method is to pay debt down based on the loan(s) that have the highest interest rates.  Rank all your debt based on interest rate, and work from highest to lowest (making at least the minimum payment on all your other debts.)
  • Another method is to focus on the loan with the lowest balance.  Paying it off first will help you build momentum for paying off larger debts (while still making at least the minimum payment on all the other debt.)
  • You could also pay extra on every loan you have (as much as your budget will allow).  Just make sure you don’t miss any payments on your other debt.

Small changes with big impact

  • Spend less than you earn, which means establishing a budget and sticking to it.
  • Never miss a debt/loan payment.  If you can’t pay your bills on-time, contact your lender in advance to help protect your credit.
  • Consider making extra payments. When you pay extra on your mortgage (especially in the beginning) it will save you thousands of dollars in interest and years of payments.  Look at last month’s statement, identify how much of your payment went to principle, and add that to next month’s payment.  That’s equivalent to making two months payment in one.

For more insights, check out the Budgeting Tool module from our Financial Education Center.

Try one of our free financial calculators 

  • Debt Consolidation Calculator
  • Should I transfer my credit card balance?
  • How quickly can I pay off my mortgage by making additional payments?
  • Budget calculator

Join us for one of our free financial workshops

  • Budgeting at Any Age
  • Keep More of What you Earn
  • Conquering Your Debt

Check our workshop schedule for these and other upcoming workshops.

Work with our personal financial educators

We’ve partnered with Ryan Beardmore, professional financial educators, to provide Advantis members with free, one-on-one guidance for budgeting, debt management, and rebuilding credit. Learn more about the Ryan Beardmore