When you’re under a mountain of debt, you know precisely how Atlas felt with the weight of the world on his shoulders! Whether it’s credit cards with sky-high balances, medical bills from an accident, or neverending student loan payments, it can be challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But fear not! We’ve put together a few steps for you to make some quick win towards paying off your debt fast because it can be done!
What actually is debt, anyway?
While this may sound like a silly question, it’s really not. We want to be crystal clear with what we’re talking about when it comes to paying down your debts. Essential bills like electricity, water, and utilities aren’t considered debt, and neither are expenses like insurance, taxes, groceries, or childcare costs.
On the other hand, anything that you owe to someone else is considered debt. For example, a car loan or student loan are both debts, because you owe money to someone else for purchasing either your vehicle or education.
To get a good idea of what your total debt looks like, add together the amount outstanding for the following non-mortgage bills:
- Student loans
- Car loans
- Credit cards
- Medical debt
- Home equity loans
- Payday loans
- Personal loans
- IRS and government debts
7 Quick Wins to Pay Off Debt Now
Once you have a full picture of what your debt situation looks like, you can start planning on getting rid of it! Here are some quick ways for you to start digging out of the red.
1. Stop Using Your Credit Cards
Logically speaking, the first step to getting out of debt is to stop adding to it! With credit cards, the more you use them, the higher your balance (and the more debt you go into). Nip your credit card usage as much as you can – entirely, if possible.
You have any subscriptions, like multiple streaming apps that are automatically taken from your credit card, take inventory of what you’re actually purchasing.
Every dollar counts, so reducing those expenses can make a big difference.
Also, be mindful of how often you eat out and shop – you’d be surprised how much you can actually save when you really understand your spending habits!
We can understand if reducing credit card use isn’t realistic for everyone. However, you should at least avoid leaning on credit card “perks,” like the ability to take cash advances. These transactions usually come with a higher interest rate than purchases made with your card.
Avoiding these can help keep money in your pocket by avoiding those sky-high interest rates.
2. Pay Off Debt with the Highest Interest Rate First
This method of paying down debt is called the “Avalanche Method.” In this case, you organize your debts based on how high the interest rate is, and start paying off the balance that has the highest rate.
By taking on your highest interest rate first, you actually end up keeping money in your pocket. The longer it takes you to pay off a debt or loan, the more interest you end up paying in the long-run.
Once you’ve paid off one credit card or bill, you can roll that payment into the next debt obligation. By attacking your outstanding debts with a logical plan like the avalanche method, you’ll actually pay less over time.
3. Pay More Than the Minimum
If you really want to make a debt in your debt, you’ll need to start paying more than the minimum balance. As it stands, if you continue only to pay minimums, you’ll end up paying more over the long run thanks to interest rates, and it only prolongs your payoff strategy.
When you only pay minimums, your debt can grow to where your minimum payment is only ever covering the accruing insurance, not so much the actual balance of your debts.
Instead, try to make payments weekly instead of monthly or doubling the minimum payment if you can afford it. By concentrating on paying more each month, you’ll be able to really start digging away at the principal amount you owe.
4. Consider Balance Transfers
If you have a credit card or debt that has a sky-high interest rate, you may be able to save money by transferring that balance to a different credit card with a better interest rate or even zero-interest.
Many credit card companies offer incentives for new account holders like a certain period where your balance doesn’t gather interest.
If you’re confident that you can pay off a high-interest card in a few months, it’s worth considering opening a new account and transferring the balance to take advantage of the promotional offer. If you do this right, you can actually end up saving hundreds of dollars in interest!
5. Think About a Side Hustle
If your budget is pretty stretched already, and you’re struggling even to make minimum payments, it might be a good idea to look into getting a side hustle to generate a debt payoff fund.
The gig economy has grown tremendously over the past few years, and it’s pretty easy to pick-up a flexible side job to generate a little more income.
From driving for rideshare companies, delivering for Postmates, or freelancing on the weekends, you can make a little extra money on the side to put towards your debt.
Even if you can bring in an extra $200 per month that you can put towards one of your high-interest debts, that’s $200 closer to getting out of the hole!
6. Sell Unwanted Valuables
If your schedule doesn’t permit a side hustle, take a look at some of the things in your home that you no longer need or use. You can make some pretty decent money selling these items to others.
That designer handbag that you had to have from two years ago could bring in some extra cash if you sell it to a consignment shop.
Or that Tiffany necklace you got years ago for Christmas may be discontinued, and a jewelry shop would love to get their hands on it for their inventory!
We’re not suggesting you gather all your favorite things and sell them, but more often than not, we have items sitting around the house that we don’t use. Why not clear out your space and make some extra cash to put towards financial freedom on something that was just sitting in your closet?
7. Know When to Ask for Help
Sometimes, no matter how many strategies you read and tips you try to implement, the debt is just too much for you to get a handle on. In these situations, you should know when it’s time to ask for help from a credit repair company.
With the knowledge and expertise on helping thousands of people get their debts under control, a debt repair company can help you put together a payment plan that fits your needs and budget.
In fact, when you work with a credit repair company, they can often get you out of debt quicker than if you did it by yourself!
Paying down your debts may require a few lifestyle changes, but it doesn’t have to be depressing. Focus on the end goal: the freedom you’ll feel walking around life without that massive weight on your shoulders!
With a few simple steps and a bit of willpower, you’ll be well on your way to living a life of financial freedom and out of the red for good!