Being in debt stinks.
Just when you feel like you might be in a position to finally start paying down some of what you owe, something else pops up and sets you back even further. Sound familiar?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can pay off your debt while having fun and enjoying life. Getting creative and sticking to a plan can help speed up the process.
Here’s how you can pay off your credit card debt once and for all.
1. Know What You Owe
First things first, it’s time to come face to face with your debt and figure out exactly what you owe.
Instead of easing your way into it, jump right in and sign up for a free service like Credit Sesame to see your credit score and history.
You’ll get insight into how much you owe, who you owe, the interest rates you’re being charged, and whether or not any of your debts are in collections.
This is the first key to saying sayonara to debt.
2. Stop Interest From Piling Up
If you have a few thousand dollars in lingering credit card debt, the sooner you tackle it, the better.
Not only will you feel like a rockstar once it’s paid off, you can also gain back the financial freedom you’ve been missing.
One of the quickest ways to get ahead on payments is to buy yourself some time with a balance transfer credit card. I know this may seem like a strange method at first, but hear me out.
When you sign up for a new balance transfer card, it comes with a generous 0% intro APR period. This intro period essentially hits ‘pause’ on interest rates, giving you time to wipe out your balance.
Let’s say you owe $3,000 and sign up for a card with 0% APR for 18-months. By dividing the dollar amount owed by the number of months in the intro period, your debt could be gone by making $166.67 payments for the next 18-months.
Sure, you’d probably have to cut back on spending somewhere, but a monthly payment of $166 seems more feasible than staring at a $3,000 balance!
3. Owe Too Much?
If you have over $20,000 in debt, it may be time to call in the experts. Services like Freedom Debt Relief can help you eliminate debt in as little as 24-48 months without declaring bankruptcy or signing up for credit counseling.
How? First, by making a custom plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. Second, by negotiating debts down on your behalf to your creditors.
You can see personalized results by choosing your state and debt amount on this sliding scale.
4. Cut Down on Expenses
This is a given, especially when trying to pay off debt, but there are ways to cut down on expenses without changing your lifestyle.
Trim is a good example. It’s a free app that can find and cancel unwanted subscriptions (with your approval), track your spending habits, and send you updates by text anytime.
Want to know exactly how much you spent on Amazon last month? Trim can text it to you instantly.
Being more aware of how your money is being spent goes a long way. And, once you begin, it’s kind of fun to see just how much money you can save!
5. Pick Up a Side Hustle
Earn extra money...riiiight, I’ll get right on that.
We are all crunched for time but even the busiest people have pockets of time that can be used to earn a generous side income – especially if it means getting out of debt sooner.
Here are a few of our favorites that don’t require a huge time commitment:
• Survey Junkie makes it incredibly easy to earn money by voicing your opinion. By completing quick, simple surveys, the extra money you earn could be put towards chipping away at your debt.
• InboxDollars could be a great way to earn money by watching TV and playing games online wherever you might be – on the train, at work, in line at the grocery store, waiting for your next appointment, and so on.
• Paribus can keep track of purchases and helps ensure you never overpay for an item. If the price drops on an item you have purchased within the price adjustment period, you can get the difference refunded back to you automatically!
6. Declutter Your Home
Walk around your home for a moment and it’s almost guaranteed you will come across a few (or several) items you no longer want and would be happy to part with for the right price.
Whether you have books, CDs, DVDs, video games, etc., selling stuff you no longer want could be an easy way to earn money to put towards paying off debt and helping maintain your social life.
Apps like Decluttr make it so simple to list nearly anything for sale. All you have to do is round up the items you no longer want, scan their barcodes in the Decluttr app, and decide if you want to accept their instant offer on each item.
Shipping items to their stockroom is free and they will pay you the day after your items arrive.
Imagine being able to help pay off your debt while also clearing some space in your home at the same time!
7. Easy Cash Back Offers
There’s no doubt cutting back on expenses while paying off debt is a good idea, but for everyday items, checking for cash back savings could be a good habit to get into.
For instance, you can earn cash back by redeeming rebates through Ibotta. After you make a qualifying purchase and submit a picture of your receipt for verification, your rebate will be credited to your account within 72 hours. They even offer a $10 signup bonus after submitting your first receipt!
Ebates is another easy way to get cash back on purchases. Once you are signed up, you will have access to hundreds of discounts from online retailers. All you have to do is activate your discount before checking out and the money you save will be sent to your account. This is definitely one I wish I had known about sooner!
Having a social life doesn’t need to mean always going out with friends. Why not invite people over to your place for the next shindig?
By getting creative, you can still enjoy life and make progress with paying down credit card debt.
A few ideas:
• Instead of planning an expensive vacation, plan a fun staycation for a fraction of the price. You will save a ton on accommodations and flights!
• Instead of hitting up a brewery or vineyard, invite people over for a wine or beer tasting.
• Love throwing monthly dinner parties? Mix it up by alternating a potluck every other month. You will get to try new dishes and save your bank account the stress of always footing the bill!
Just remember – you can do this without being a complete hermit. Small pains now mean big gains later!