Let’s be clear, if you owe thousands of dollars on multiple credit cards, there’s no way to get out of debt fast. If you see a company claiming they can clear your debt or fix your credit score for a small fee, the odds are they’re a scam.

If you want to get out of debt fast, you’re going to need to take control of your own situation. Begin by writing down everyone you owe money to, how much you owe, and what your interest rate is for each of those debts. With all this info handy, you can then decide what method works better for you; debt-snowball or debt-avalanche.

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The debt-snowball method

American finance author Dave Ramsey came up with the debt-snowball method and it has gain much popularity over the years. Basically, you start by paying off your smallest debts (by dollar amount) first before moving onto the larger ones. The idea here is to get instant satisfaction whenever you eliminate one of your debts which will, in theory, encourage you to pay off the rest of your debts.

Keep in mind that you still need to make the minimum required payment on all of your debts, but any extra money available should be put towards your smallest debt. Once that first debt is paid off, move on to your next one. Repeat this process until you’re debt free.

The sense of accomplishment you get after paying off each debt may be worth it psychologically, but by using this method, you end up paying more in interest charges in the long run. From a straight numbers perspective, using the debt-avalanche method makes more sense.

Related: Debt repayment options

The debt-avalanche method

The debt-avalanche method works in the same method as the debt-snowball method, but in this case, you start with your highest interest debts first. In most cases this would be your credit card debt, car loans, and student debt.

Credit cards tend to have pretty high-interest rates, think 19.99%+ so clearly it makes the most sense to pay that down first compared to a debt that may only have a 5% interest rate. The obvious advantage of the debt-avalanche method is that you’ll save a ton of money in the long run since you’re focusing on high-interest debts first.

The only “problem” with this method is if you end up having a large balance on your credit cards. At times. it can definitely seem like you’re not even making a dent on your debt loads. It may seem like it’s taking longer to pay off your other debts, but you’ll actually get out of debt faster since there will be less interest paid.

Final word

Which debt repayment method you choose is ultimately up to you, but as long as you stick to one method, you’ll be in good shape. The snowball-method will give you small victories while the avalanche-method will save you money in the long run. Either way, you’ll be focusing on reducing your debt and that’s what matters most.