There are two popular approaches to paying off debt that are widely recommended. Both will help you get your balances back to zero, but they have different advantages.

-In the avalanche method, debts are paid down according to interest rate, starting with the debt that carries the highest rate. This is the financially optimal method of paying down debt, and you end up paying less money overall (compared to the snowball method).

-The snowball method, as popularized by Dave Ramsey, is when debts are paid off in order of balance size, starting with the smallest. Paying off small debts first may give you a psychological boost and improve your cash flow situation, since you’ll have less account payments to worry about. The downside is that larger loans that may have higher interest rates are left untouched for longer, costing you more in the long run.

The avalanche method will cost you less money in the long run; however, if you think that the psychological boost from paying off a smaller debt sooner will help you stick with the plan, then do it! You can decide to switch methods later. The important thing is to start paying off your debt as soon as you can, and keep paying until your debt is gone.

unbury.us is a useful tool to help you get an idea of how long each method will take and see how much interest you’ll end up paying overall.

No matter which method you choose, you should make the minimum payments on all of your debts before choosing which debts to devote extra money to.