The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Consolidating Debt

Debt consolidation can help you reorganize your finances and lower your monthly payments, making it easier to pay back what you owe. However, consolidation isn’t foolproof - missteps along the way can lead to increased, longer-lasting debt.

Learn how to avoid these five common mistakes that borrowers make when consolidating:

Not Considering How You Got Into Debt

Fixing your finances is a bit like treating a sports injury: if you don’t review what happened previously or examine your current habits, you might hurt yourself in the same exact way down the road.

The common misconception about debt is that it always comes down to frivolous spending and bad money habits. In reality, many debt problems start with an unexpected expense or an emergency, such as a home repair, hospital stay, divorce or family death. You may be able to throw that payment on a credit card or delay payments in the short term. Unfortunately, these debts can become overwhelming if you don’t have an emergency fund or a repayment plan to rely upon.

In addition to researching your debt consolidation options, you should take the time to analyze your spending, clean up your finances and set up safeguards to protect yourself in the future.

Jumping in Without a Plan

Consolidating your debt is only one step in your debt-free journey. Once it’s all in one place, whether it be on a new credit card, in a consolidation loan or part of a debt relief program, you’ll need to start making payments towards that debt.

Kick off the development of your repayment plan by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know how much you’ll put towards debt repayment every month?
  • Are you planning on putting your bonuses, tax refunds and cash gifts towards your consolidated debt?
  • Have you updated your monthly budget to include debt repayment?
  • Can you increase your monthly payments with the help of a second job?
  • Can you make cuts in your spending and redirect the spare cash towards your monthly payments?

Taking a New Loan With a Higher Rate

Consolidating your debt is only one step in your debt-free journey. Once it’s all in one place, whether it be on a new credit card, in a consolidation loan or part of a debt relief program, you’ll need to start making payments towards that debt.

Kick off the development of your repayment plan by asking yourself the following questions:

Not Paying Off Transferred Debt on Time

Those who choose to consolidate with a credit card transfer usually do it to take advantage of a lower promotional interest rate. Unfortunately, these promotions come with a time limit. If you don’t pay back what you owe before the period ends, you’ll be hit with the regular interest rates and owe even more.

Make sure that you understand the ins and outs of your credit card and when any special promotions end if you proceed with a balance transfer. Plan to pay off the outstanding debt as quickly as possible.

Not Working With the Right Professionals

One of the biggest mistakes that consumers make is not reviewing their financial situation with a debt consolidation professional. Choosing the right debt relief option is tricky, and many don’t realize that they don’t have to figure it all out on their own.

Most trustworthy debt consolidation companies provide free consultations, allowing those in debt to review their options and choose a debt consolidation plan that best fits their needs. Check out our list of the # available to get you started.