Millions of people are filing for unemployment benefits these days, businesses are closing, and all of us are at risk with regard to our health. You don’t need the added stress of debt on top of everything else, so why not take the opportunity to pay it off, or at least get it to a more manageable level? Here’s a quick look at a few types of debt to pay down or off during the pandemic.
Credit Card Debt
A year ago, you may have been secure in your career and confident that you wouldn’t be in debt. You may have even had an emergency fund with a couple of thousand dollars in it that you were confident could get you through a rough patch. If it didn’t, you could fall back on those credit cards. The pandemic has proved us wrong.
Fortunately, many companies are there to help you pay off your credit card debt with a consolidation loan. Try to pay down or off any credit card debt as soon as possible. That will mean you have one less thing to worry about during these difficult times.
If you owe smaller amounts, like $50 to the guy who cuts your grass, $80 to a doctor, now’s the ideal time to knock those smaller debts out so that you have fewer payments to worry about each month if you get laid off or lose your job. Also, the cost of carrying debt, even small debts, is high. For starters, your payment history makes up around 35% of your overall credit score.
Late payments and missing payments can lower that critical score and make things difficult for you later on.
If necessary, there are loans to help pay bills that don’t require a credit check, collateral, or a high salary. You can apply for the loan and use the funds to pay off those smaller balances before they get out of hand.
0% APR Cards
You might have gotten a great deal when you got that latest credit card – something along the lines of 0% APR financing for 12 months or along those lines. That said, you transferred your higher interest balances to that card and still owe hundreds because you’ve just been paying the minimum. You should really pay this off before that interest rate kicks in and makes the balance jump even higher. Some of those cards even add the interest back retroactively, so when you accept cards like this, be sure to read the fine print.
Back in March 2020, student loan interest was waived until future notice and that has been extended since then. That means that there’s never been a better time to pay them off like now.
Additionally, borrowers of federal student loans can actually suspend their payments for as long as 60 days without incurring any interest, which might be music to your ears if you happen to be struggling with your payments right now. That said, if at all possible, take advantage of this period of no interest to pay the principal down as much as possible.
If you made the decision to cosign a loan for a vehicle for one of the kids or even a friend or family member down on their luck, you took on a responsibility that can be rather risky. This is because if they don’t make the payments on time or even default on the loan, your credit score can be damaged as much as theirs will be.
Having a collection on your credit history, be it as a primary account holder or a cosigner, is incredibly negative and can have a serious impact when you do apply for credit. If you can, think about paying off the debt now and then working out a payment plan of your own with the borrower.
Now is not a good time to be carrying debt. You can end up ruining your credit if you suffer a job loss and aren’t able to make monthly payments on time. You may also find yourself having to use your credit cards more with the worsening of the economy. However, now you know which ones to pay on first to get a grip on your debt.