This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt find out how they can help.
I’m going to honest with you. Paying off debt sucks!
It’s hard. It takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication. You have to work at it everyday. But, there are a few things you can do to make it a little bit easier and help you pay off debt faster.
I haven’t had the fastest journey. I started paying off debt when I started my blog back in December 2013. But next month, I’ll hit a major milestone. I’ll finally be credit card debt free!
If you’re ready to take your debt seriously, here are 5 things you can do to pay off debt faster.
1. Make Extra Payments
Of course, the best way to pay off debt faster is to may more than just the minimum payment each month.
Have you ever paid attention the section on your credit card bills where it shows you how long it will take you to pay off your debt if you only pay the minimum payment each month? Most of the time it will take YEARS to pay off even a small balance because of the high interest rates on most credit cards. This little section also tells you exactly how much interest you’ll pay too if you only pay the minimum payment.
But the very next line is the one that makes all the difference. Right below that, the bill will show you how much faster you can pay off your debt if you pay only a few extra dollars each month. Even a small amount of extra payment can save you years of paying off debt, and hundreds in interest too.
2. Pay More Often
You can also pay off debt faster by paying on your debt more often. When I started budgeting and tracking my spending, I made a cash flow spreadsheet too. Since I knew exactly how much I’d be paid from my full-time job and when, plus a close estimate of how much my monthly expenses would cost, I could plan out when and how much I could pay on my debt. Then every time I had a surplus of money in my cash flow sheet, I’d make an extra payment on my debt.
Paying on your debt more than once a month can save you a ton of money on interest and help pay off debt faster. But if you don’t want to keep track of this manually, you can use Pay Down My Debt to simplify the process. They’ll make multiple payments toward your debt each month.
3. Cut Your Expenses
As I said at the beginning, you have to make sacrifices if you want to pay off debt faster. This means finding ways to cut your expenses.
When I decided I had to take my debt seriously and cut my spending, I cut the easy stuff first.
I stopped getting my hair professionally colored on a regular basis, quit eating out as often, and cut cable. (I switched to Hulu!)
It was hard to get used to some of these changes at first, but I knew cutting my expenses was something I had to do to get my debt paid off. Before I cut my expenses, I was spending more than I earned every month!
4. Increase Your Income
After you’ve cut the easy stuff from your budget, you can try to cut some more. But, eventually, you’ll run out of things to cut from your budget. You still have to pay for basic living expenses after all! Because you can only cut so much from your budget, you might have to find a way to increase your income too.
I’ve done lots of things to help bring in more income over the years. I’ve worked a part-time job alongside my day job. I started freelancing. And I even picked up odd jobs here and there, like scooping snow for neighbors and babysitting. Taking surveys with Survey Junkie can bring in a little extra cash too!
But it’s not just about earning extra money, you have to make sure you use it wisely too! This is where I sometimes fell short, using my extra income for extra spending instead of putting it right toward my debt.
These days I’ve increased my income big time from where I was when I started this blog and my journey to pay off debt. I now earn about 7X what I earned 3 years ago at my day job, allowing me to put more money toward my debt and other financial goals too.
5. Find Accountability
If you can’t keep yourself accountable, it’s ok to ask for help! In fact, I’d bet that those who find accountability have a much higher success rate at any goal they are trying to achieve, no matter if it’s debt freedom, weight loss, or something else entirely.
You can find accountability in a variety of ways, such as:
- Working with a spouse or partner
- Making friends with people on the same path
- Working with a family member
- Starting a blog
No matter which way you choose to find accountability, make sure you are comfortable with that person knowing your financial details. But, it shouldn’t be someone you are too comfortable with. Their job is to help you stay focused, motivated, and at times they may have to come down on you if you didn’t do what you said you would.
Even with these tips, paying off debt is hard! But, if you stick with it, you’ll get there eventually!
Have you used any of these things to help pay off debt faster?