Embarking on a journey to free yourself from debt is a powerful and transformative New Year's resolution. While the road to financial freedom may seem daunting, a strategic approach can pave the way to lasting success.
As you embrace the promise of a new year, consider these 14 top money moves to help you crush your debt.
Each step is a building block toward a debt-free future, providing you with the tools and mindset needed to conquer financial challenges and create a path to lasting financial prosperity.
If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources
Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.
How to become a member today:
- Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
- Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
- Start enjoying your discounts and perks!
Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.
Choose a debt payment method to begin the year (snowball or avalanche)
Kickstart your debt-free journey by choosing a debt payment method that suits your financial personality. Two popular approaches are the snowball and avalanche methods.
The snowball method involves paying off your smallest debts first, gaining momentum as you clear each one.
On the other hand, the avalanche method focuses on paying down high-interest debts, saving you money in the long run. Select the method that motivates you to stay committed to your debt repayment plan.
Use a 0% APR offer to transfer debt
Explore using a 0% APR (annual percentage rate) balance transfer offer to alleviate the burden of high-interest debt.
Many credit card companies provide introductory periods with zero interest on balance transfers, allowing you to consolidate debt and save on interest payments.
Be mindful of any transfer fees, and ensure you have a clear plan to pay off the transferred balance before the introductory period ends. We’ve done the homework for you and found the best credit cards with a 0% intro APR.
Promise yourself to stop using buy now, pay later plans
Breaking free from the cycle of debt involves making conscious choices about your spending habits. One significant step is to promise yourself to stop using buy now, pay later plans, which spread out your payments and can lead to overspending.
While these schemes may offer immediate gratification, they often lead to a cycle of accumulating debt. Commit to making purchases only when you can truly afford them, avoiding the pitfalls of deferred payments that can contribute to financial stress.
Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt
Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.
National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.
How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.
Make a resolution to start a side hustle for extra income
Boost your income and accelerate debt repayment by making a resolution to start a side hustle. Whether it's freelancing, consulting, or selling handmade goods, a side hustle can provide an additional stream of income dedicated to paying off debt.
Channel your skills and passions into a venture that aligns with your schedule and financial goals. The extra income generated can make a significant impact on your debt reduction efforts.
Review and renegotiate your bills
Take a proactive approach to managing your monthly expenses by reviewing and renegotiating your bills. Contact service providers for cable, internet, insurance, and other recurring expenses to explore opportunities for cost reduction.
Many companies are open to negotiating rates, especially if you demonstrate loyalty or present competitive offers from other providers. You may need to actually say you would like to cancel your service before you’re offered a better price.
Allocating the savings from bill negotiations toward debt repayment can accelerate your progress toward becoming debt-free.
Create a realistic budget
A crucial step in your journey to financial freedom is creating a realistic budget. Outline your income, fixed expenses, and discretionary spending to gain a comprehensive understanding of your financial landscape.
A well-crafted budget helps identify areas where you can cut back, allocate more funds to debt repayment, and build a foundation for sustainable financial habits.
Regularly review and adjust your budget as circumstances change, ensuring it remains a guiding tool on your path to debt-free living.
Consider debt consolidation
Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into a single, more manageable payment. This can simplify your financial life, potentially reduce interest costs, and create a structured repayment plan.
Explore debt consolidation options such as personal loans, debt consolidation programs, or one of the best balance transfer credit cards.
Assess the terms, interest rates, and fees associated with consolidation to determine if it aligns with your debt reduction strategy.
Sell unused or unnecessary items
Get extra money for debt repayment by decluttering your living space and selling unused or unnecessary items. From clothing and electronics to furniture and collectibles, there's likely value in items you no longer need.
Embrace platforms like online marketplaces, garage sales, or consignment shops to turn clutter into cash. The proceeds can be directed toward paying down debt, providing a tangible and immediate impact on your financial goals.
Negotiate lower interest rates
Take the initiative to negotiate lower interest rates on your existing debts. Whether it's credit card balances, personal loans, or other lines of credit, reaching out to creditors and expressing your commitment to repayment may lead to reduced interest rates.
Lower interest rates mean more of your payments go toward the principal balance, accelerating the debt payoff process. This simple yet effective strategy can save you money and expedite your journey to financial freedom.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Pause contributions to retirement accounts temporarily
While contributing to retirement accounts is crucial for long-term financial health, consider temporarily pausing these contributions to channel more funds toward debt repayment.
This step requires careful consideration of your financial situation and consulting with a financial advisor.
Temporarily redirecting retirement contributions can provide a short-term boost to your debt repayment efforts, allowing you to focus on eliminating high-interest debts.
Seek professional financial advice
Consider seeking advice from a certified financial planner or credit counselor. These professionals can assess your unique financial situation, provide personalized strategies, and offer insights into effective debt management.
Professional advice not only enhances your understanding of the financial landscape but also equips you with the tools to make informed decisions on your path to debt-free living.
Explore debt settlement options cautiously
Debt settlement involves negotiating with creditors to settle your debts for less than the total amount owed. While this can result in a significant debt reduction, it comes with potential drawbacks, including negative impacts on your credit score and tax implications.
Explore debt settlement options cautiously, considering the associated risks and seeking legal or financial advice before proceeding. This strategy is best suited for individuals facing extreme financial hardship and should be approached with careful consideration.
Celebrate milestones along the way
Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements as you progress on your debt-free journey. Whether it's paying off a credit card, reaching a specific milestone in your debt reduction plan, or completing a financial goal, take the time to recognize your efforts.
Celebrating milestones fosters motivation and reinforces positive financial habits. Reflect on your journey, learn from your experiences, and use each milestone as a stepping stone toward a debt-free future.
Establish an emergency fund
Creating an emergency fund is a crucial aspect of financial stability, especially when working to get out of debt. An emergency fund acts as a financial safety net, providing funds for unexpected expenses and preventing reliance on credit cards in times of crisis.
While prioritizing debt repayment, allocate a portion of your budget to gradually build an emergency fund.
Having this reserve can prevent the accumulation of new debt during unforeseen circumstances. Use a top high-yield savings account to build your savings even faster.
As you embark on the transformative journey of getting out of debt, remember that each money move you make is a step closer to financial freedom.
Living a debt-free life requires dedication, discipline, and a strategic approach. Reflect on your financial goals, consider the unique aspects of your situation, and implement these 14 top money moves to pave the way for a future unburdened by debt.
What steps will you take this year to ensure your path to financial freedom is a resounding success?