Money Matters: Saving versus paying off debt with extra money

Money Matters: Saving versus paying off debt with extra money

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So you've paid all of this month's bills, and you have a little extra money leftover in your pocket.

"First off, congratulations on having some extra money rolling around," said Jennifer Dever of Pennington, Bass and Associates. "That's not necessarily common. A lot of people use all of their income to pay their monthly expenses, or close to it."

Dever said what to do with that extra cash is not an easy decision. Save it or pay off debt? It all hinges on your financial situation.

"It depends on what the debt is costing you," Dever explained. "If you have high interest rate debt, credit cards for example, then it's typically advisable to get rid of that debt as fast as you can because of what it's costing."

However from a planning perspective, it is so important to have an emergency fund in place.

"Your washing machine goes out, or you blow out a tire on the car, you have an insurance deductible, maybe you need to pay the deductible on a new roof because of a hail storm. What if you lose a job? Medical expenses," Dever said. "Maybe you need airline tickets because of some family emergency."

If that happens without an emergency fund, you will be racking up debt trying to pay for it anyway. You have to choose what's best for your financial goals.

"Really I think unless your credit card interest rate is just excessively high, then I like the idea of establishing your emergency fund first, and then get the credit card debt paid off as fast as possible," Dever said.

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