Money Talks: Resolutions 2013: Getting Rid of Debt

It's no wonder two common resolutions are fighting fat and destroying debt. Because both fat and debt are dangerous, and neither has a place in a healthy lifestyle, physical or financial.

There's something else that trimming fat and ditching debt have in common. They both require a little heavy lifting. First step if you want to get rid of some debt: figure out much you've got.

Pull out some statements and write it all down: everything from your mortgage to your car loan to credit cards. Get every balance and every interest rate.

Step two - target one debt for payoff. It could be your smallest, could be the one with the highest interest rate. Whatever you decide, focus on that debt. Make minimum payments on all your other debts, but pay extra - as much as you can - on that target debt.

The more you pay on that target debt, the faster it will get paid off. Where will you find the money? Anywhere you can. Maybe you're going to bring lunch from home, cut your cable TV, maybe get rid of your gym membership. The point is, you need to track your expenses, find out where your money is going and then find just a few bucks in each category that you can you can use to destroy your debt.

When that debt's dust, it's time to snowball. That means adding the old payment from that dead debt to increase the payment on the next debt on your list.

Bottom line: There's no gain without pain, physically or financially. But when it comes to debt, targeting one at a time, focusing all your resources on it, then snowballing on down the line is going to help you destroy the most debt in the least time. Want more help? Go to and search for "Resolutions 2013.

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