“I love being in debt,” said no one ever. The truth is that debt sucks, and the quicker you can put an action plan in place to get rid of it, the sooner you can start putting your hard earned money to work for you in other ways, like saving, investing and pursuing your dreams!
If you’ve ever looked at your statements and gotten that “ugh” feeling or gotten mad at all the interest you are paying your creditors (yup, debt is super expensive), there are actionable steps you can take!
Here are 10 things you can start implementing today so you can jumpstart your debt repayments:
1. Stop spending credit.
If you want to be done with debt, then you have to hit stop on the spend button, particularly spending on credit. This means no more using your credit cards unless you have to make payments that require a credit card (in many instances a debit card will suffice) and if you do have to use credit, you should be paying off those charges in full each month. Otherwise, grab a Ziploc, put your credit cards in, fill it with water and throw it in the freezer!
2. Consider debt consolidation.
Consolidating your debt into one monthly payment with lower interest rates can help you reduce the amount of interest you are paying back to your creditors. However, debt consolidation only makes sense if you can pay off your debt within the time frame of the low introductory interest rate. It’s also ver important to carefully read fine print and terms associated with a consolidation, so you are aware of all the fees and time frames.
3. Pay more than the minimum.
Paying more than the minimum reduces the total amount of interest you pay back to your creditors which in turn saves you money because the amount of overall interest you’ll be paying back to you creditors is reduced. A debt repayment method like the snowball method can ensure your extra payments have the most impact and help you get out of debt faster.
4. Use your savings to pay debt.
Got money sitting in a savings account earning little or no interest? You might want to consider using those funds to pay down your credit card debt. Why? Well if you look at the big picture, you’ll see that the interest you are paying on your credit card is not worth the very minimal interest rates you are earning on your savings account. Once your debt is paid off, you can put the money you would otherwise have been making on credit card interest payments towards savings.
5. Sell stuff you don’t use.
You can make some quick cash by getting rid of things around your home or closet you’ve never used. Online sites like eBay or your local consignment stores are great places to sell these items. Whatever you earn can be used to accelerate your debt repayment.
6. Start a side hustle or get a part time job.
If you have a particular skill or people always compliment you on your fashion sense, you can probably start charging for those skills to earn some extra income. Love to bake cupcakes? Give everyone in your family free hair cuts? Design breathtaking wedding invitations? These are all great ways that you can earn some money with your talents and apply it to your debt.
If running your own side hustle is not your cup of tea, you can consider getting a temporary part-time job until your debts are paid off.
7. Cut cable and lower your cell phone plan.
Cutting cable can save you hundreds of dollars each month. If you are not an avid sports fan, you might not miss cable at all. Consider switching to an online streaming service like Netflix or Hulu to save some extra cash until your debts are paid off.
Cell phone plans are another way to save. Try calling your service provider to see if there are any specials or offers they can give you for being a loyal customer or consider downgrading your plan to one that costs less.
8. Cut back on eating out.
Eating out every day add ups especially if the average lunch is $10-$15 dollars. Instead, plan your meals for the week based on what you have at home. Pinterest is a great place to get meal planning ideas if you need help coming up with meal ideas.
9. Cancel unused subscriptions and memberships.
If you barely go to the gym, why waste money on a gym membership p that you could use against your debt? Love working out? Try working out at home or outdoors and see how you feel!
10. Put any extra money towards your debt.
If you have any tax refunds or bonuses coming your way, they can make a huge impact on your debt. Plan to put most of that extra cash against your debt to save yourself money on interest and to get closer to your debt free date.
Putting these 10 things into action will get you well on the way to paying off your debt. Remember you are doing all of this stuff for a reason and that is to get debt-free ASAP. Keep your focus on the financial freedom becoming debt-free will allow you and you will be glad you did it!