Ideally, you will use a financial product with a lower interest rate to pay off debts charging a higher rate. The reduction in interest will help you save money you would have been required to pay had you not consolidated your debts. It also saves money on late fees, missed payment penalties and other consequences you may face when you have a difficult time managing debt. Depending on the size of your debt and the difference between the two interest rates, your savings may be worth thousands of dollars.
Debt consolidation is a debt management strategy. The term describes the process of rolling one or multiple unsecured debts into another form of financing. In other words, you take a new loan and use it to pay off existing debts, which leaves you with just one loan to worry about. Used properly, it can reduce your number of bills, lower the cost of carrying debt while you pay it off and help improve your credit score over time.
If you decide to consolidate your debts, you should get organized as soon as you can. Make a list of all the different credit cards and loans you wish to consolidate. Once you do that, find your most recent billing statements and write down the exact balance you owe for each debt. Once you do this, add up all those balances to determine the total amount of outstanding debt you have. That number - the total amount of outstanding debt you're currently carrying - is what you'll need for a debt consolidation loan.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you may be able to receive a lower interest rate on a debt consolidation loan than you are currently paying on your debt, saving you money on monthly payments and overall interest. Another option for lowering your monthly payment is with a long loan term. However, a longer loan term means you may pay more interest total.