It can be tempting, when creating a debt pay down plan, to start with the lowest balance first. This is because you tend to get an emotional boost when you pay off the debt. It can help you keep going. But, if you are looking at matters as they relate to saving money as you pay off your debt, you should consider starting with highest interest rate debt first. In some cases, your highest interest debt may also be your smallest. That’s a bit of a bonus.
Get Rid of the High Interest First
When you are paying 22% interest on a card, that can result in a lot of money going straight into someone else’s pocket. The longer you pay that 22%, the higher the amount of money that you waste. If you pay down that 22% interest first, you can save a little bit. If another card has 15% interest, you can let it go a little longer without racking up as much interest. Let’s say you have a card with $1,300 on it, and an interest rate of 15%. If you can put $200 a month toward repayment, it will take you seven months to pay off, and you will pay $46.99 in interest, according to a calculator on CNN Money.
However, it would take one year and three months to pay off the card with 22% interest at $200 a month, and you will pay $306.69 in interest. Imagine delaying getting started on paying off that money by seven months. You would be paying the higher interest for longer, before you even started paying down your debt. And because of the higher interest rate, your balance, when paying the minimum, would go down more slowly.
If you start with the highest interest debt, though, you will pay it down in a little more than year. Meanwhile, you’ll minimum payments on the lower interest credit card will do more to erode the balance than what would have happened with your higher interest card. In the end, you save some money on interest — even if you have to delay the gratification of paying off your first credit card by a few months.
Of course, if you are afraid you will give up on your debt repayment plan, you can consider paying down the card with the lower balance — even if it means paying a little more in interest. After all, the main thing is to pay off your debt. Any debt repayment plan has to be practical, and workable for you.