Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is socially and institutionally accepted that you will go into debt. Whether it is for school, medical reasons, or plain ol’ spending, we all find a way to go into debt. I wanted to compile all of the ways that you can combat that mentality and create a new life debt-free.
I may sound a little preachy and straightforward, but if you aren’t serious about getting your debt under control, then it never will be. Not every tip will apply to you, but the good majority can be applied to anyone’s situation.
Let’s destroy your debt once and for all.
1.Make debt your priority.
Too many times we get trapped in debt, not just because of spending, but due to procrastination. We aren’t willing to put off some pleasures to pay down or off past pleasures.
2.Pay off highest interest lines first.
While some gurus will tell you to start with the smallest balance, I’ll take the highest interest credit line and pay that first. That is the one that is costing you the most money each month relative to the balance.
3.Stop treating credit as a “pay it later plan”.
Credit cards are best used as a tool to buy something you don’t have the cash for right then. Credit cards are also best suited to being paid off in full each month. Just because we can carry balances, doesn’t mean we should.
4.Stop trying to keep up with the “Joneses”.
Our desires for high priced and fun gadgetry will lead to a life of debt. The way to enlightenment and freedom is to limit the amount of influence keeping up with your friends has on your psyche.
5.Use the Snowball Method.
This method popularized by Dave Ramsey, means paying off a card or line of credit and then using that same payment amount and rolling it into the next credit card. Essentially building your payment larger until you crush the final bill with the full weight of all the payments before it.
6.Save more of your money.
A major reason some people go into debt, is that a major unexpected expense hits and it goes directly onto a credit card. Even worse,with a home expense, they may even take out a second mortgage. The more savings you have, the less likely this will happen.
7.Create a budget.
Budgets are not fun, nor are they sexy or cool. Thankfully though, budgets are a tool that keeps your spending in line. After years of just doing it in my head, I broke down and started a budget. I was shocked how much money “leaked” out into the atmosphere.
8.Stop applying for new credit.
If you are in a debt hole, don’t make the hole deeper. Just because you are still getting offers, doesn’t mean you should take advantage of them. Pay off what you have now.
9.Find new ways to have fun.
I’m willing to wager that some of your debt has come from eating out, drinking, or general tomfoolery than you’d like to admit. All of this fun stops as soon as you look at the bill. Let’s be more productive with our time and find new ways have fun without spending oodles.
10.Learn to cook.
Just like with the last point, we are spending too much on others making our food for us. Did you know that restaurants mark up all of their ingredients and dishes to 3 times their cost? Imagine how much you’ll save(and apply to debt) if you learn some staple dishes and make them regularly.
11.Holidays are not an excuse to spend.
Traditions are wonderful and we all have families that we want to treat with lavish gifts for every occasion. This may sound harsh, but until your debt is gone, these traditions are going to keep you deep in debt. Make an effort to do things for folks instead of just putting presents on a card.
12.Watch your everyday expenses.
A little frugality goes a long way, and if you can lower your monthly expenses, you can apply the excess to the mountain of debt. We live extremely comfortable lives and cutting back on some comforts, like AC or heat, will put more money in your pocket.
13.Cut the cable.
There are a myriad of ways you can enjoy that huge TV(that you bought on credit), but cable is not the most efficient or cost effective way. Find one streaming service and cut the rest from your life. You can always switch to catch up something you feel you may have missed. Apply those savings generously to your liabilities.
14.Earn more money.
The side hustle is the new en vogue thing to do! Stop wasting your time and use it to create a profitable business that not only earns extra cash, but teaches you how to be a business owner. Those extra funds will decimate your debt faster than you could ever imagine.
Sorry to be preachy here, but how much is this habit costing you? I bet you’ve even bought a few packs on credit, I know I did. Giving up smoking meant less stops at gas stations and picking up random stuff with the cigarettes. That money will be better served elsewhere and your body will thank you.
16.Sniff out subscriptions you don’t use.
You may have noticed that a ton of companies are going with a subscription model for the goods and services they offer. The reason why they do this, is because they know the majority of folks will continue to pay in perpetuity. Once they have you on that hook, they will milk you for an eternity.Go find these subscriptions on your bank statement and snuff them out one by one.
You know I once thought that using coupons at the grocery store made me look cheap. In reality, the people who have the most money shop for the best deals. Get over your pride and put those savings in your wallet or towards that skeleton of debt in your closet.
18.Shop for the best rates.
If you simply are swimming in high rate cards, you may want to look at consolidating them all into one payment. While I told you not to open new cards, this may help some folks to get over the hump if you can get a really low rate. That would ease some of the pressure as long as you don’t ever use the old cards again.
19.Be a cheap date.
Your future mate wants you to be a rock star with financial stuff, so wow them with your wit instead of your spending. Instead of dinner and movie, go with dinner and stargazing. You’ll find a million more things out about your potential mate than at a movie, and the movie expenses won’t haunt you on a credit card.
20.Sell your old stuff.
Remember all that junk you put on credit and then promptly replaced or never used again? Sell it. Today. Get as much value out of them as humanly possible before they become relics of a bygone era. That money can go right back into the “Get out of Debt” fund.
21.Ask for help.
This may not be available to everyone, but in some cases it could get you where you need to be. If you are at the point of financial ruin, you may need more help than is immediately available. Spending can be addictive, and the accumulation of debt is dangerous, so please ask for help if it is going too far.
You know what makes me happy? Helping others. Helping YOU. It also helps me get perspective on the things going on in my life. Compiling this list means that I have not only helped you, Dear Reader, I have found the secrets to my own success.
23.Go generic and save.
There is no reason not to go generic in 90% of the things you buy. I would be flabbergasted if you could come up with a good excuse on why you’re spending 20% or more on something just for a brand name. This goes for prescription drugs too. Don’t @ me.
24.Luxury is an illusion.
Those luxurious brand name clothes, full priced shoes, and jewelry in general are ploys to separate you from your money. All of the high paid athletes and models may be able to afford them, but you and I are on a mission to eliminate our debt. Stay away from so-called luxury and stick to the basics until your head is above water.
25.Ask for a raise.
Hey you’ve been doing a great job and work and we can see your potential. It’s time you got paid for that potential. While I know most companies just do yearly reviews, you can always apply for the next step up and advance your career. And earnings. And pay off your debt.
I want you to apply this tactic to every piece of debt you have. Cal them up and tell them to lower your rate. If they resist, then threaten to consolidate and close the card. Almost all of these companies have loyalty departments that will try and keep you. So let them keep you with a lower rate.
27.Don’t let excuses set you back.
Paying off all of your debt is a life change, not just a short term fix to financial woes. You can’t fall back on using credit as a crutch just because your balances are further from the limit. I’ve been there, you see that available balance and it is a tantalizing morsel of spending that you think you have. Don’t create excuses to use that balance.
28.Cut the cards up.
Do not close your accounts once the balances are paid off. Just ceremoniously cut the cards into tiny little pieces and sing a song of joy. Once the balance of one card is fully paid, you don’t want that temptation slipping into the corners of your mind. Celebrate the victory and move forward.
29.Debt relief is not the answer.
Debt relief companies are in the business of making huge profits off of your indebtedness. While they may consolidate all of your bills into one payment, they also take a huge cut of that payment. Most charge 25% for the privilege of helping you negotiate to pay off your own bills. Fight the urge to go this route and use all of our other tips to destroy your debt.
It’s ok to feel ashamed and embarrassed by the seemingly impossibly large amount of debt you’ve built. That feeling will serve you well if you can recall it next time you want to go on a spending spree. Look at your life from outside in, and make changes that you won’t feel ashamed of.
31.Exercise your butt off.
Fitness can lead to a lot of good things in life, and not just 6 pack abs and a toned butt. It can also lead to clear thinking, and a lifelong hobby that keeps you out of the mall. Unless you are a mall walker, then it’s ok.
32.Eat healthier and less.
Not only should you focus on getting your butt moving, you should focus on eating better too. We want to extend your life past the payoff date of your debt, and if you are wallowing in a tub of ice cream, you may not get there. While you should be ashamed of your position, don’t use food to comfort you. Eating healthier and less will lead to a smaller grocery bill as well. Bonus!
33.Create passive income streams.
Just like the side hustles above, passive income can change your life and financial outlook. Start a blog, write a book, make videos, these are all very good ways to make money on autopilot. The more effort you put in up front, the more return you could see on the back end.
34.Sell your bodily fluids.
It may seem extreme, but we’re in crisis mode here! The longer we wait to get out of debt, the more interest charges we rack up. If you truly do not have the extra money to pay down debt, then this is an option that will pay you real money.
35.Move somewhere less expensive.
I know you love your 3rd floor condo overlooking the golf course, but what is this costing you? Could you live with a lesser place so that you can prepare for a better financial future? Renting may seem like throwing money away, but being eyeball deep in debt because you wanted to buy a McMansion doesn’t make sense either.
Cars are freaking expensive. Think of all the different expenses that go into owning a car, from insurance and gas, to the air freshener you bought to keep the new car smell. If you can live without one, do it. If you must have one, buy the cheapest, most reliable ride you can. Otherwise, find a way to get where you need to go on the cheap.
37.Get a second job.
While we have talked about side hustles and creating passive income, we haven’t addressed the fact that there are plenty of places that will pay you for your time. By the hour. Not the most fun you’ve ever had I’m sure, but it will give you a steady stream of income to pay down your debt. It will also keep you from shopping or browsing Amazon.
While my list is fairly comprehensive, there is a ton of literature out there that can help you to shed your debt. Get a library card and find a few books that give you a system of eliminating debt. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be for this life change.
39.Change your habits.
It has been so easy to whip out your credit card, that you forgot what cash felt like. Why don’t you try pulling enough cash out for the weeks expenses and then once it’s gone, it’s gone. This will teach new habits and let you wean yourself off of credit card spending.
40.This is an emergency.
Debt will cripple your ability to live a happy, healthy life. You may say that is an exaggeration, but imagine how much better you feel if you were debt free. Imagine not paying interest on spending you may have done years ago. Your new life starts now, and the best way to start it is by paying off the crushing weight of past expenditures.
I know it isn’t easy to pay off debt, but we’ve given you 40 ways to get started today. You don’t have to live with the constant pressure of bill after bill. Make some positive changes in your spending and you’ll start to feel better about where your financial life is heading.
I have faith that you can put these tips to work and I want to hear about your journey. Let us know below what you have done to make your debt disappear and whether our tips have helped you.