To be honest, mostly I find the company of my own debt overwhelming. For this reason, I often find myself trying to pretend it’s not there. This strategy (not surprisingly) hasn't led to a reduction in debt…quite the contrary.

So now I am determined "debt reduction" will be Resolution #1 starting January 1. To this end, I recently took 60 minutes to sit down and really meet my debt—face to face and pen to paper. What I discovered is – it really is possible to create a workable plan to pay down my debt.

If “debt reduction” is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, I hope this method might help you too!

60 Minutes and counting 

I have long been a Dave Ramsey fan (although clearly more in spirit than in practical application).

One strategy Dave advocates is to approach paying off debt as if it is a snowball rolling downhill, gathering steam to wipe out your debt once and for all.

You will use the next 60 minutes to construct your "debt snowball payoff plan."

What to do:

  • Set aside one hour of quiet time to complete this exercise.
  • Sit down with pen and paper (or laptop and keyboard) and list all your debts from smallest to largest dollar amount (don't worry about interest rate).
  • Then make a note about what the minimum payment is for each to the right of each amount.

Example:

  • Dentist payment plan: $450 ($20 per month)
  • Wells Fargo Visa card: $1,250.00 ($38 per month)
  • Chase Visa card: $4,785.00 ($55 per month)
  • Auto loan: $6,500.00 ($350 per month)

Finally, add up all the minimums:

  • $463 is the minimum amount you need to pay monthly to keep your debt from impacting your credit score.

Now you have your “debt snowball” plan in place, and it’s time to implement it!

Setting your debt reduction goals

Dave advocates paying off the lowest debt amount first, using any pennies, quarters and dollars you can spare. This is because paying off even one debt in full is a huge confidence booster!

What to do:

  • So here, your goal is to pay off the remaining $430 of your dentist payment plan first.
  • As you do, simply continue making the minimum payments on the other three debts.
  • Once you have paid down the dentist bill, you can move to the Wells Fargo Visa bill, and then to the next and the next until your debt is gone.

KCL's extra debt-busting helps 

Depending on how much you owe and how comfortable you feel managing your debt yourself, you may find these KCL resources useful.

1. Re-commit to couponing with these KCL-recommended apps:

2. Check out these great apps and tools to help you manage your debt:

3. Check out how to make extra income in your free time:

4. Read 10 Days to Become a Krazy Coupon Lady and jump-start your coupon savings.

5. Get a free Dave Ramsey budgeting guide from KCL (and access more great apps in Take Control: Top Debt-Management Apps).

6. Learn how to use Dave's Cash-Only Envelope System.

7. Find out how to do a balance transfer (helps you gain extra time to pay off debt).

8. Learn about 7 card fees you should never pay (and how to ask for a lower interest rate).

 

Start Your New Year Right with the 60-Minute Debt Payoff Plan