I’m a massive advocate for paying off debt quick as possible. Or at the very least sooner than later. From my own experiences the hardest part is taking the first step when it comes to paying down debt. You may have trouble formulating a plan on what to start paying off. Trouble with finding extra money in the budget to even start paying down debt. Or my favorite reason, being intimidated by the large number that is owed.
When I got married my wife and I didn’t know what to do about our debt, which was incredibly intimidating. Since then we have been able to climb out of our hole, change our spending habits and still enjoy life. Here are my 11 tips to help pay off debt that I learned through my small wins.
- Write Down All Debt – Grab a piece of paper, pen and start writing down everything you owe to somebody else. Include credit cards, delinquent accounts, student, home and auto loans. This is a great tactic to help organize all your debt and look that bad boy in the eye. From here you can start tackling each debt one by one. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
- Stop Spending – When you have a leaking bucket it is pointless to add water if the hole isn’t plugged. The same goes for your “debt bucket”. If you can’t stop bad spending habits your debt will not decrease but most likely increase. Learn to be a savvy frugal spender and start to rid yourself of bad spending habits.
- Credit Cards – An average American household carries $15,675 of credit card debt and the usually APR is 18%. This basically equals out to a hellish amount of interest being paid. Consider moving funds to a new credit card with 0% APR for the first year or more. Be CAUTIOUS though! I repeat be cautious with this step. If you know you can’t pay everything off within a year don’t transfer all debt. Start with transferring 10% of the credit card debt to pay off first. The goal is to not get stuck with any money on the new credit card.
- Selling Junk – Get rid of all the junk in your home for some cash to help boost your debt payment. Sell online, garage sale or word of mouth. You will get to free up space in your home and extra cash in your pockets. Use the money towards your lowest loan to help free up a monthly payment that can go towards another loan. Make Craigslist your best friend.
- Debt Snowball – The best tactic for paying off debt in my honest opinion. Fundamentally the method works by focusing on small debts first to pay off and that will allow laser focus on the larger debts. It’s similar if you write a To Do list and tackle your easy tasks firsts.
- Budget Slashing – This bit advice goes a long way after debt is paid off. It involves going thru your household budget with a red pen and crossing anything extra. Some budget wasters can be cable, car payments or beauty products. If you can do without the budget item for more than 90 days the chances are you can cross it out. After completion you should end with more room in the budget to help pay off debt accounts. Click here for 11 money wasters I found that could be cut from the budget.
- Laser Focused – The intensity of focus on debt will decide how quickly you pay it off. It is truly a mindset that you need to make the hard decision to sacrifice now for your future.
- Emergency Fund – Money mogul Dave Ramsey suggests storing an emergency fund before you laser focus in on debt. The emergency fund is to serve as a barrier to overcome the inevitable emergency whether it be health, car or any type of event that catches you by surprise. Save as much as 3 months of expenses so when an emergency does come up, and it will, your debt paying off plan won’t be phased
- Side Hustles – Hustling for money is what I love to do. Start searching for a side hustle that fits your lifestyle. Consider the time being spent, the pay, and toll on the body. With the extra income put it towards the debt and see those numbers go down with the quickness.
- More Than the Monthly Payment – Every extra payment helps in the long run even if it doesn’t show at first. Push yourself to pay a few dollars extra to speed up the payment of the debt loan. Focus on paying extra on 1 debt account and then move to the next.
- Increase Your Income – Easier said then done, am I right? But if you found that you have exhausted all other resources it may be time to increase your income. You may find that a new job is the perfect way to increase your income to enable more flexibility in the budget. Nonetheless it is the best option because when it comes down to it the numbers need to add up.
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