Welcome to Christmas hangover season!
Not only is it back to a normal work schedule, but all the credit card statements are coming in and, with it, a lot more stress. The good news is that, regardless of your income level or how much debt you have, getting rid of it is possible. People from every walk of life have done it, and you can too! But understand that, while there are many different ways to pay off debt, they all require self-discipline, especially if you want to stay debt free.
How fast can you do it?
The more self-discipline you have, the faster it’s going to happen. And one thing’s for sure, if you want to get out of debt, you have to stop creating new debt. This means committing to spending only what you have available in your bank account today, and not relying on credit cards.
Before you dive into any strategies for paying off debt, think them through thoroughly. And read the fine print, before you sign anything! Some methods are helpful, if used properly, but can be very harmful, if used improperly. So be careful, take your time and understand what you’re doing.
Here are my top 5 ways to pay off debt quickly
First, use the debt snowball method
Continue making minimum payments on all of your debts, but you throw as much extra money as you can at the smallest one. When it’s paid off, take the entire amount you were paying towards that debt and add it to the minimum payment of the next smallest debt. The payment gets bigger, which means you’ll pay it off faster. Keep repeating this process until all your debts are paid off. Get step-by-step instructions by listening to “The Debt Payoff Method.” I love this method, because you’ll know your debt-free date, before you ever get started. That’s motivation!
Second, get a side job
Warning: Make sure the money actually goes toward paying off debt! It’s so easy to fritter that money away on other things. Then you’re just working harder, without relieving stress. And if you get used to the extra money, it’s harder to let go of the job. So let the side job serve its purpose and then take back your time. Creating and living on a budget is the best way to ensure the money goes where it needs to.
Third, sell stuff
It’s amazing how we can let stuff sit around the house, sometimes for years, without using it, but then when it comes to getting rid of it, we’re tied to it emotionally. But think about what that money can do for you. If you’re not using that item and it can make you some money to pay off your debt, what’s more important – freedom from financial prison, or that thing that’s sitting in your house collecting dust?
Fourth, do a balance transfer
Warning: this is a promotional offer that can save you a ton of money on interest and help you pay off debt much faster, or drive you further into debt. You must know how to use it properly. Because it’s a promotional offer, you have to pay off the debt before the promotion ends. Otherwise, you’ll owe all that interest. And it could be a higher interest rate than what you’re paying now, not to mention all the fees that come with it. Make sure that the math works in your favor! For tips on how to think through your decision, listen to “Weighing a Balance Transfer.”
Debt consolidation is another option that can lower your interest rates, but remember, with both of these options, you’re just moving the money around, so focus on a plan to pay it off.
Fifth, use windfalls like tax returns, bonuses, birthday money or inheritances
Warning: The easier it is to pay off debt, the easier it is to fall back into old habits, because you don’t feel the sacrifice. So be sure you’re ready for a lifestyle change.
Think it through
With all of these methods, it’s important to think through your decision and make a plan that’s based on your unique financial situation today, in order to pay it off. Also remember that pennies add up to dollars, so no matter how little extra you have to throw at your debt, it will make a difference. And if you don’t believe me, I challenge you to do the math, you may be very pleasantly surprised.
Here are a couple of things I don’t recommend
These companies take your money, but don’t pay your debt. They hold it in an account, wait until your accounts are in default, then negotiate a settlement with your creditors at pennies on the dollar. This will destroy your credit – which you can do yourself!
Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
Contrary to some beliefs, transferring your debt from credit card to a HELOC does not make you debt free! Your debt still exists, and now your home is at risk. If you can actively and quickly pay back the loan, this method will save you money, because the interest rate is much less than the interest on a credit card. But your home is now collateral for your debt, so you’re putting it at risk, if you can’t or don’t pay back the loan.
Also, there are many who fall into the trap of transferring credit card debt to a HELOC, only to start charging on those credit cards again, compounding their debt. charge their credit cards back up quickly, so be careful and think it through.
Bonus tips to become and stay debt free
What’s the big deal about being debt free?
Everyone’s in debt, right? Wrong! It is possible to live debt free! And with debt freedom comes choices and confidence! You’re no longer paying for the past. You can save for emergencies and opportunities! Learn more about life after debt!
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, sick and tired of the financial prison, break out of it! Make a plan and commit to seeing it through! You’re already sacrificing, because the money going to the credit card companies is not available for what you really need. As long as you stay in debt, that will not change. But if you make a plan and you see it through to the end, the stress and sacrifice will end. Then you’re free to make other choices! Think about the benefits a short term sacrifice can give provide in the long run.
If you’re ready to slay your debt and you need help, schedule a free call with me! We’ll talk about your situation, brainstorm ways to help you get started and you can decide whether you want to work with me or whether you’re ready to do this on your own. Whatever you do, get started today! You can do it! I’d love to hear more tips on paying off debt, or your debt-free story! Get in touch with me!