Are you looking for a shortcut to get out of debt sooner? There are two ways to build momentum in your debt repayment efforts. The first way is through the creditors themselves granting you some sort of relief, and the second way is for you to change how you are sending in your monthly payments (either by submitting additional money, or by creating a debt payoff strategy).
Here’s your challenge: find several options from the list below that resonate with you, and go get ’em! You get bonus points for trying out ideas that are from both sides of the momentum-building equation.
Remember, the sooner you amp up your debt repayment process, the quicker you will experience debt freedom.
- Become a virtual assistant on the side – There are many legitimate sites where you can sell your time and skillset. Perhaps you are good at resume writing, you’ve got a knack for transcription, or you like to design blog avatars in your spare time. To get you started earning extra cash, check out similar listings on Upwork.com for ideas as well as price ranges. Then, submit your own!
- Carpool – Carpooling is a great way to cut your monthly gas costs considerably, enabling you to use that money for debt repayment. Look for online communities around your local metro on Craigslist, Reddit, or other regional websites. Not only do you get to take days off from driving, you won’t have to face the commute alone every day!
- Make sure you apply for all eligible tax deductions and credits – Many people miss important (and lucrative) tax credits or deductions. If you are unsure of how to do your taxes or what you are eligible for, then it could save you money in the long run to hire a professional (hint: generally the cost of getting your taxes professionally done is tax deductible as well).
- Take your entertainment budget down to zero (and still have fun) – Challenge yourself to take your entertainment budget down to $0 every other month. It’s not as hard as it sounds (hello, books gathering dust on your shelves…), and you can still have plenty of fun in the process.
- Shave $20 off your monthly grocery budget – Perhaps you don’t want to become a couponer. Instead, how about you aim to spending $20 less per month on your groceries? That is an extra $240 per year you can put towards your debt (every dollar counts!).
- Dog walk and pet sit – This is a great way to get some exercise and make some extra cash. Post your ad in a community bulletin board, Facebook page, Craigslist, or just spread the word among dog owners. You’ll be surprised how lucrative this can be, especially in a big city.
- Scrap metal – Do you have a truck? You can pick up people’s old appliances and other scrap metal and actually trade it in at your local center for some cold, hard cash. Money earned is based off of metal type and weight.
- Get rid of unused subscriptions and memberships – Do an audit of credit card payments and overall spending, and you’re likely to find one or two subscriptions that you no longer use. Try not to beat yourself up if you do.
- Mystery shop your oil changes and date nights out – Mystery shopping is a great way to get a lot of services for free, and it’s a great conversation starter for dates! Use the money you didn’t spend on these services towards your debt repayment.
- Cash out credit card rewards – Is it time to cash out your credit card reward points? See if you can get a statement credit, actual cash, or get a gift card for a purchase you were planning to make anyway so that you can use that money towards debt repayment.
- Take leftovers for lunch – Maybe the thought of making a sandwich or salad seems like too much of a time commitment. But how about just putting some leftovers in a container while you’re putting away food after dinner?
- Pick up extra shifts at work – Sometimes the easiest way to bring in extra cash is to ask for more work (if you are paid hourly… salary workers, you probably don’t want to do this).
- Get a seasonal, part-time job – Do you have time to work at a Christmas tree lot in the winter? Or become a weekend camp counselor in the summer? There are lots of seasonal opportunities that can be a great, temporary infusion of cash to help you reach your goal quicker.
- Ask for a raise – The fact is, increasing your pay can turbo boost your debt repayment, so it’s worth it to ask! Ramit is a great go-to resource for helping you do this knee-wobbling task.
- Host a digital yard sale – Gather up all of those extra belongings you’ve been meaning to get rid of and take an afternoon to list them on eBay, Craigslist, local Facebook groups, etc.
- Increase your monthly payments automatically – If you set your monthly payment higher (and stretch yourself), then it will become the norm. Not only will you pay the debt off sooner, but you will not notice the missing money after a while.
- Gather Your Loose Change – See how much change you gather, cash it in, and pad your next debt payment (every little bit helps, right?). Don’t be surprised if you top $100 per year.
- Negotiate a lower interest rate – Call up your credit card, medical creditors, and others to ask for a lower interest rate.
- Consolidate your debts – If you’re dealing with a number of high-interest credit card bills every month, you could save time, energy, and money by consolidating your debts with a personal loan.
- Cut cable (without saying goodbye to television) – These days there is absolutely no question that you can get almost everything you’d dream of watching on cable or satellite TV via streaming for cheaper (and on your own time).
- Leverage your social network – Some of the services you currently use probably have an affiliate network or referral plans. Sign up for your own plan’s affiliate program, and start touting their benefits to your family and friends!