Loans give us the ability to pay for things we otherwise could never afford. Can you imagine if you couldn’t get a loan for a car or a house? If mortgages weren’t a thing, most Americans wouldn’t ever own a home. Loans and mortgages are definitely good, but only when you use them responsibly.
If you’ve found yourself swimming in debt that’s getting a bit burdensome, there are easy-to-follow steps you can take to cut the cost of your loan debt fast and improve your credit score at the same time. Some of them even come with major tax advantages.
Refinance Your Loans
Refinancing is a great way to secure a lower interest rate on a loan. Not only will this bring down your monthly payment, but it will also shorten the amount of time it takes you to repay the debt. You’ll likely have the option to extend the repayment term, but it’s best to avoid doing this. By repaying the loan as soon as possible, the quicker you can cut the cost of your loan debt.
When refinancing a mortgage loan, you might be given the option to do a cash-out refinance. This allows you to borrow more money than what you owe on your home. While this may seem counteractive to your goal of trying to cut your debt, it can prove beneficial for helping you pay off high interest debts very quickly. Even better, the interest on the refinanced loan is often tax deductible.
Sell Some of Your Assets
The last thing you want to do is sell your only vehicle—unless you live in a city with excellent public transportation—but if you have an extra one that you’re not using, unloading it for a lump sum is a great way to cut the cost of your loan debt. There are many other assets you can sell too, including stocks, vacation homes, jewelry, an RV, and more. If any of these assets have significant value and you can live without them, it’s usually best to sell them and pay down any debts that are causing you financial stress.
Tackle High-Interest Credit Cards
It’s best to pay off the cards with the highest interest rate first. Once you pay one of them off, apply what you were paying on card A to card B on top of the payment you are already making on it. As you pay more of your cards off, the repayment of the other ones gets increasingly faster with this technique.
To cut down your credit card debt even more, contact your creditors and ask them to waive your annual fee. You can also try to negotiate a lower interest rate or reduced payoff amount, but be careful. Any settlement you negotiate with the creditor may negatively impact your credit. You also run the risk of receiving a Form 1099 from the creditor. If you do, you’ll have to pay taxes on the amount of debt that was forgiven.
Consolidate Your Loan Debt
With debt consolidation, you can roll multiple debts into one balance, often with a lower interest rate. By doing this, you’ll be making one larger repayment a month instead of many smaller ones. There are lots of ways to consolidate your loan debt. You can take advantage of a low-interest credit card consolidation program, take out a personal loan, or even tap into a home equity loan.
Home Equity Line of Credit
If you have equity in your home, your mortgage lender will likely let you open a home equity line of credit (also known as a HELOC). You can tap into this line of credit as needed to cut the cost of your loan debt. Although you’ll be adding to your mortgage loan, a HELOC’s interest rate is generally lower than what you’re paying on other debts like credit cards and personal loans. You’ll also receive an interest deduction on your taxes when you open a home equity credit line. This means you’re converting non-deductible interest into deductible interest, which can significantly reduce your total overall repayment amount.
You can’t build good credit without taking out loans, but it’s crucial to take your finances seriously and—as such—to use loans responsibly. Use the tips we outlined above to slash the monthly cost of your overall loan debt.