Pay yourself by paying off debt If you've received a lump-sum payment from an inheritance, tax refund or commission from a sale, you're probably considering how to best use the money. Paying off debt, such as a mortgage, auto loan or credit card debt, is one consideration. When you pay off debt, you're receiving a guaranteed return on your money by saving the interest you would otherwise be paying on the loan. Depending on the type of the loan, and especially for credit cards, that return might be greater than anything you could receive by investing the money. In addition to saving interest payment, you'll also repay the loan sooner, freeing up extra cash at the end. Use this calculator to compare the numbers and determine how much you can save.