Argh. Debt. Most people have debt and anyone who has debt wants to dig themselves out of it. It seems like it’s easy to rack up the debt, but to pay it off takes so long! Budgeting and paying off debt is a lifestyle change – much like it’s a lifestyle change to lose weight and keep it off. If you see your debt decrease, you are likely to keep working at paying it off. Here’s 5 ways to jumpstart paying off debt so you can see your balances lower right away:
- Spending freeze. Go two weeks without spending any money besides the bills (mortgage/rent, electricity, cable, gas, garbage service, etc.). The money you save by not spending can pay off some debt.
- Budget. To me, a budget is freedom. I always know my financial situation. Set a budget for everything and figure out the amount you need out of each paycheck to pay for it. Don’t forget car insurance, newspaper subscriptions, etc. Include everything. Putting $10 aside each month for the newspaper makes paying for it later on easy as the money is already there. When creating a budget you will have limits and might find some ways to stop spending money and use it to pay off debt.
- Sell stuff. Every dollar matters. A dollar here and there at a garage sale can add up to a couple hundred. I’m not one to host a garage sale so I sell unwanted items to a pawn shop, online (just be careful with this), and to family/friends. Every extra dollar you get for selling something goes straight to paying down your bebt…no excuse!
- Take up an odd job or two. Can you clean? Find someone who needs help cleaning their house. Do you get bored on weekends in the winter? Get a part-time job. Do you have a hobby that has income potential? Do that in your spare time. Any profit goes straight to paying off debt.
- Lower your bills. Cancel subscriptions, call your cable/internet provider and see if there’s any discounts, or maybe even downsize to save of bills for a couple of years.
Paying off debt is a tough lifestyle change, but it is possible. Set financial goals and work hard at them. At the end of the day, paying off debt faster is about not spending money unless it is necessary and figuring out how to increase your income.