When trying to pay off a large amount of debt it’s very easy for one to forget that small decisions add up and that the answer to How do you eat an Elephant is…..One bite at a time. If you start to think in smaller increments, much smaller increments it can help you make the decisions to pay off your balance much quicker. Many people wait until they have a larger chunk of money set aside and then make an additional payment on their credit card instead of making “micro payments” which are smaller but more often throughout the month. What can happen is that while saving up a chunk of money something comes up and since the money there, a lot of the time means the money is now gone.
Breaking it down into these small increments can help you keep going mentally, knowing that your small decisions are adding up helping you erase the debt quicker. Try focusing on just 1% of your total balance and doing everything you can to pay an additional 1% to the debt you are trying to get rid of. You might not think it does much, but it will end up saving you a lot of money that otherwise goes straight to your lender.
$3,000 of credit card debt at an interest rate of 19% with a minimum payment of $60 per month.
Making Minimum Payments Only:
This would take you 100 months (over 8 years) to pay off and in total you would pay about $6000.
Paying an extra 1% each month ($30 each month, this doesn’t go down as the balance does):
This would take you 48 months (4 years) to pay off and in total you would pay about $4,300.
You save over 4 years worth of payments to this debt and end up paying $1,700 less in interest payments!!!
1% increments are a much more manageable and achievable goal and you might find yourself finding all sorts of ways to cut down expenses a bit to keep adding another “1%” to your payments.
Make the payment right when you make the decision to cut an expense or chose not to spend on something – the money is out of sight, out of mind and it went towards the wise place and you get the instant gratification knowing the payment has been made! What can happen sometimes is that throughout the week we can make good financial decisions only to see our hard work wiped out by 1 or 2 decisions on the weekend. If you make small payments as you make those smart decisions early in the week you won’t have that money to make mistakes with later in the week – give it a try and see if it works for you.
Keep the Math in mind and when weighing the sacrifices of not doing something or not getting something. Little decisions add up to a lot of saved time and money – Best of luck!
Great Ways to Save your 1%
- Unused Gym Memberships
- Bring Lunch to Work Once, Twice, Five times a week
- Look at Cable Bill and Lower the Package
- Look at Phone Bill and Lower the Package
- If you have multiple streaming services – cut one of them
- Compare prices on Home, Auto, Renters Insurance etc.
- Use Coupons
- Grocery shop more often but buy less – less wasted food which is wasted money
- Stop Using K-Cups – buy a reusable filter and use coffee grounds.
- Stop buying bottled water – get a Brita and a to go cup
- Do Surveys online for money
- Stop browsing the internet for deals when you do not need anything.
- Grocery Shop at Aldi
- Find someone cheaper to cut your hair.
- Play more board games as cheap entertainment
- Check Out books from the library for free entertainment
- Reduce Number of Monthly Subscriptions you have.