How to Calculate Outstanding Debt

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If you are trying to get a handle on your finances, you may want to calculate how much outstanding debt you have. Once you know how much you owe, your monthly payments can be calculated. Having knowledge of your debt helps you establish a plan to eliminate your outstanding balances. Sometimes you can get new, more favorable terms and conditions for your account balances. This can expedite the paying down of your debt.

Add up all of your outstanding account balances. Using your account statements, make a list of your debts on a separate piece of paper. Once your list is complete, reorganize them starting with the smallest balance first. Your list should include credit card balances, car loans, mortgages, home equity lines of credit and any other outstanding debt. Add up your debt to get a total balance figure and record it on your paper.

Put your outstanding debt in different categories, including credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages and home equity loans. The accounts should remain in order of smallest to largest. Once the debt is categorized you can determine which category you will pay off first. Credit card debt is usually a good place to start. Some people get overwhelmed with credit card debt.

Get new terms. Sometimes you can get new terms for your debt. Credit cards can assume new low interest rates by doing balance transfers. Your home mortgages and home equity loans can be refinanced if there are any attractive rates available. When you have better terms, such as lower interest rates, you can save money by paying less in finance charges.

Make corrections to your totals. The balances on your accounts will change over time. Once a month, pencil in your new balances so that you can keep an accurate tally of your outstanding debt. Knowing where you stand with your debts will keep you in control of your financial situation.

Tips

  • You can use a credit card calculator to see how long it will take to pay off each credit card account.

References

About the Author

Melvin J. Richardson has been a freelance writer for two years with Associated Content, and writes about topics such as banking, credit and collections, goal setting, financial services, management, health and fitness. Richardson has worked for several banks and financial institutions and gained invaluable experience and knowledge. Richardson holds a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management from Ashland University in Ashland Ohio.

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