There is a lot of talk about how important it is to pay down your debt in order to improve your life and your financial situation. Most of this debt advice focuses around paying off your debt as quickly as possible.
But what if you aren’t interested in drastically changing your lifestyle in order to pay down debt? What if you want to take it a little slower?
If you are interested in paying your debt off at a slower pace, the debt siege can help.
Comfort vs. Rapid Debt Pay Down
There are people who are comfortable with their level of debt. They don’t have a problem paying only a little bit more than the minimum payment. They don’t feel particularly stressed about their debt. They don’t even mind so much that some of their money is going to pay interest, rather than being used to help them improve their financial situation.
Instead, the main interest is in comfort. Effectively applying such methods as the debt snowball and the debt avalanche requires that you cut back on some of your luxuries, and use the savings to aggressively pay down debt.
For some consumers, the idea of cutting back so much (or even of exerting more effort to increase income) is unattractive. They want to be comfortable. They want to keep the cable TV and eat out once or twice a week. They would rather be comfortable than sacrifice to pay down debt within two or three years. Instead, they’re fine taking five or six years, as long as they can retain their comforts.
The Debt Siege
This is where the debt siege comes in. With the debt siege, you acknowledge that paying down your debt is a long-term effort. It’s not an all-out assault on your debt. The debt siege is similar to the debt snowball, but it works slower.
With the debt siege, you decide how much money you can put toward paying down debt without making drastic changes to your lifestyle. Perhaps, instead of looking for ways to apply an extra $500 a month to debt pay down (as you might with the snowball or avalanche), you decide that you can spare $200 extra a month. You can still do most of the things you love, and make a debt payment without breaking your budget.
You can choose to start either with the lowest balance debt, or the debt with the highest interest rate. Whatever you are most comfortable with is fine. Then, you make your regular minimum payments on all but your first debt. You apply the extra money toward your first debt until it is paid off, and then you shift to the next debt on your list.
As you progress, you pay down your debt slowly, over time. As long as you don’t mind the extra time in debt, and the extra money you will pay in interest over the longer pay down period, the debt siege can work. You’ll pay off your debt…eventually.
What do you think? Are you willing to sacrifice to get out of debt? Or is the debt siege more your style?
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