CREDIT CARDS, student loans, car payments, mortgages. If you go through a box of checks like a flu victim goes through Kleenex, you may be a candidate for loan consolidation. You’ve got lots of options to choose from, whether it’s taking a personal loan from your bank or credit union or rolling your credit card balances to a low-rate card. The key is to reduce your interest rates — not just your monthly out-of-pocket costs.

These days debt can be cheap — the average rate on home equity loans is just 9.3% and some credit card companies aren’t charging much more than that to their best customers. So if you’re paying upward of 18% on several credit cards, then consolidating your debt could save you a lot of cash. Our consolidation calculator will help you figure out just how much. Enter the current balance on your loans along with the interest charged, and you’ll see how consolidation will affect your overall interest rate. (Of course, if you take this opportunity to reduce your principal payments, your new low-interest rate loan could end up costing you more than the old one.)