Credit comes at a cost, and that cost is known as the interest rate or financing charge. It can vary drastically from one lender to another based on your needs, credit rating, and income levels. However, there are usually some smart ways to keep the cost down. Here are a few ideas to help you save on interest charges so that you can eliminate the debt faster.

Shop Around

The first rule of thumb is that shopping around can pay off. If you have a great or even good credit score, then you can get quotes from different banks and choose the one that best suits your situation. In addition to the annual percentage rate, you may also want to find out about any application fees or other applicable charges. If you’re refinancing any type of debt, make sure that you’re doing more than just lowering the monthly payment. Ideally, you should be lowering your interest rate and your term in order to make a refinance truly effective.

Use the Stack Method

Rank your debt by interest rate, and then focus on paying off the personal loans or credit cards with the highest rates. Once you get that loan paid off, you can take the money you were paying on it and add it to another payment. Continue stacking your payments until all of the debts are eliminated.

Be Willing to Switch

As you pay loans off and reduce the balances on credit cards, you’ll start to qualify for more attractive rates. If you’ve had a loan for a year or two and you have a solid payment history, you can shop around again for a lower interest rate. Make the switch, but be sure to ask about any fees associated with transferring the debt over.

Extra Check, Extra Payment

If you’re paid bi-weekly, then you’ll receive an extra check twice a year. This is unexpected money for your budget, and you can use it to pay off your debts faster. Rather than spending it on additional items that you don’t need, put half of that extra check in an emergency fund and apply the other half towards your high-interest bill.

There are a few other ways that you can bring a balance own faster. One is to pay half the monthly payment every other week. You’ll wind up making an extra full payment during the year, and you’ll have less time in between payments for interest to accrue.

You can also simply

Round up the payment. Take your payment amount up to the nearest $50 mark so that you can bring the balance down faster and save in the long run.

The cost of financing money can be high, but you have more control than you might think. While you don’t have any control over the final decision a bank makes, you can control your spending and payment habits. Bringing your credit balances down will lead to lower interest rates, and you can use those improved rates to pay off debts faster.