If you have a lot of debt such as mortgage and credit cards, you have to start taking steps to repay it. Don’t think that you can continue just paying off the minimum. You might not ever be able to pay off your debts faster, and you are simply making the banks richer by paying them high amounts of interest.

Paying off your credit card debt is particularly important if you have a mortgage, since there is always the risk that interest rates will go up. If this happens, you may have difficulty servicing your fixed-rate mortgage if you are already paying down consumer debt.

Before you can decide on the best way to pay off your credit card debt, you have to assess just how much debt you have. List down all of the balances you have on your credit card as well as the interest being charged on them.

Once you’ve done this exercise, there are two approaches you can take to paying off your debt.

Start by paying off the debt with the lowest balance first. The reasoning behind this approach is that you will feel that you are making progress, which will keep you from getting discouraged.

Start by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate. This is the approach recommended by many debt counselors. When you do this, you will save money by paying less overall in interest. You can then take this savings and apply it towards increasing your debt repayments, allowing you to pay off your debt faster.

Whichever approach you choose, you will have to continue paying off the minimum on the debts you are not focusing on. Do not neglect your other debts since this will result in higher costs down the line in the form of penalties and late fees.

Another alternative that you can explore is to consolidate all of your debts on a 0% balance transfer credit card. But if you choose this option, you will have to exercise self-discipline and avoid falling back on old spending habits. Do not use the balance transfer card to incur more debt, since you will only end up with the same financial problems that you had before.

Also keep in mind that the 0% interest rate is not permanent, and after the promotional period expires, the card issuer will start charging you a high interest rate. If you have to use a credit card for emergencies, use one of your old cards instead.

Of course, prioritizing the repayment of your debts will involve a lot of sacrifice in the short to medium-term. You will have to cut back on your expenses and eliminate many small luxuries that you have gotten accustomed to, such as eating out and cups of premium coffee.

There may be ways that you can lessen the pain, however. You may have stuff that you no longer use that you can sell and apply towards debt repayment. There may also be ways that you can make extra income, such as taking on a second job or applying for mortgage refinancing.