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When we decide to roll up our sleeves and tackle our debt, we so often focus on the end goal that we forget to think about the contracts we signed and the implications of settling our debt early. Not all debt is equal, and paying off some debt early can cost us more money than we need to pay. Many people tend to overlook the dreaded settlement fee - you need to think carefully and plan ahead when it comes to settling this amount. If you have a cellphone contract, contact your service provider to find out what the implications are of settling your account early. Even if you're left with two R300 payments, your early settlement penalty could be R1 500 - making it pointless to pay the account off earlier. For accounts such as credit cards and store or furniture accounts, making regular payments works in your favour. These short-term debts generally don't attract any early settlement penalties. If you want to make sure you don't mess up your credit score, focus on making regular and tim...

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