Have you ever sat down and completing the daunting task of calculating how much debt you owe? Taking it a step further, have you calculated how long it will take you to get out of debt.

There are numerous financial calculators on the internet that will help make this task a little bit easier. Of course, they won't pay off the debt for you, but they can give you an idea of how long it will take you to get rid of the financial burden called "debt".

If you aren't sure what is considered debt, if can be defined as any amount of money you owe to a company or even an individual. If you owe anyone money, you are in debt. Granted, a $1000 loan from a family member may not be costing you as much as a $1000 credit card balance.  Now is the time to figure out the best way and most cost effective way to eliminate the debt.

Consider this, if you have a $5,000 credit card balance with a 18.9% interest rate and only make the 4%  minimum payment, it will take you 12 years to payoff the balance and cost you over $3,000 in interest.(click the image to see it full size).


If you are able to find some extra money to throw at your debt and make double the minimum payment, you can have the balance paid off in 5 years and 9 months and it will cost you a little over $1200 in interest.



Just by making double the minimum payment, you can get out of debt alot sooner and pay alot less in interest.

You didn't get into debt overnight (hopefully) and you won't get out of debt overnight; unless you are lucky enough to win the lottery or come into money some other way. There is no ancient chinese secret to getting out of debt, but it does take patience and determination.


Follow these tips and you can get rid of your debt:
  1. Don't take on any new debt!!
  2. Minimize the amount of interest you pay each month so that more money goes towards the principal. If you have good credit, consider applying for a balance transfer with a credit card with a 0% interest rate so any money you pay towards your debt goes toward principal only.
  3. Pay as much as you can comfortably afford each month toward the debt. Small amounts help tremendously. 
  4. Find sources of additional income and minimize expenses - second job, selling items on Ebay, garage sales, online surveys, using coupons, etc.


Visit Dinkytown for a wide variety of financial calculators.

4 comments

  1. Lulu // November 9, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

    I made a spreadsheet of how long it will take me to pay off my debts as well. I did not do any fancy calculations with interest and all that but so far I have been on track and paid off the debts before the time that was listed on the spreadsheet.

    I do apply little snowflake payments every time I get some extra money so I guess that has helped to offset the interest that I did not factor in....and that is why I have been able to cross off some debts before their 'due' date.

  2. Bobby // November 9, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

    Great numbers breakdown. Also important to pay-down the smallest debts first.

  3. Angie // November 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

    Hopefully, depending on how fast I get a job and the salary. We can pay off the remainder of our loans in 7 more years. That's assuming we can stay as motivated as we have been the last 3 years. And if we can put off havoc kids and buying a house that whole time too. But man that is a lot to ask for!

  4. Accounting Services // November 16, 2009 at 4:35 AM  

    Hi

    Great information and the important thing is that the pay-down the smallest debts first.