Most people have some type of debt. Consumer debt can come in many shapes, credit card debt, student loans, car payments, personal loans, etc.
For this article, we will not include mortgage debt.
Due to the ease of borrowing money from financial institutions and the easy access to online credit card companies, more and more people end up in situations where they borrow more than they can pay off.
If the debt is left unchecked and unmanaged, it can easily snowball and grow to the point that it takes a toll on the quality of life.
Every credit line that you own has interest applied to it and interest can grow fast. In this article, we will list 14 tips on how to get out of debt quickly.
Getting out of debt requires patience, financial management, and time. As much as it sounds difficult, you can perfectly learn the skills needed to manage your debt.
Getting out of debt will improve your quality of life and it will build habits that will help you to get better financial decisions.
1. Understand What Makes Up Your Debt
The first step to do is to take a top view approach. This means listing all the debt bills that you have.
Understand when the due date of each credit line is.
Write off the total amount of each credit line.
Write the interest rate on each credit line.
Write the late fees applicable to each credit line payment.
By understanding which cards are charging the highest interest, you can create a hierarchy line of the costliest cards.
The idea is to list the cards top down with the cards that charge the highest interest each month to the lowest interest.
This way you know which credit line is the number one priority and which debt needs to be paid first.
2. Sign Up For Debt Counseling Programs
There are free government services designed to help citizens to learn personal finance. These are free and are available to everybody.
There are free online sites that teach you how to manage debt.
There are also nonprofit organizations or even professional services that can teach you and there are support groups too, so this way people can discuss ideas together.
3. Get Your Credit Report
After you have understood your debts and the details of each lender, it is time to go one step further.
You need to reach out to the credit agencies of your country. They issue free credit reports.
The idea is that there might be errors, or you might be owing debts that you had forgotten or even the case of fraudulent debts.
You never know, so a quick look will not hurt. This is good for assesment of your debt.
4. Know Your Income and Expenses
Now that you have the information about the credit card companies, it is time to analyze yourself.
This means creating a detailed list of your income sources and all your expenses. Getting out of debt requires detailed budgeting, as what you pay for debts is what you are left with after all expenses and cost of living are paid out.
There are apps that you can download to input all your data and link your bank accounts too, this way you can get a better glimpse of your situation.
Now that you know what you spend and earn, it is time to start optimizing.
5. Create a Monthly Budget
Now that you know your income and expenses, it is time to create a budget. The budget will help you to pay off debt faster.
You can use these free online budgeting tools.
You will pay off debt quickly if you factor in the monthly payments as part of your budget.
The main idea of the budget should involve saving money. The more you save, the easier you will get out of debt.
This budget should list your monthly revenue and all the necessary bills such as utilities, transportation, food, monthly credit payments listed in hierarchical order, as we explained at the beginning of the article.
The budget should have a small section allocated to affordable pleasures.
The idea is, to be honest with yourself on what you can do for fun and what you cannot do.
You will be forced to cut down on a lot of activities and things that are fun, but remember you got into debt in the first place indulging in such pleasures and you will get out of debt when you stop doing them.
Of course, we are humans, and we need some entertainment and fun occasions, so make sure to factor that as part of the budget.
That means you should have a clear idea of what you can afford for your fun activity.
6. Use Cash Advance Programs
Now that you have your expenses listed, there is another step that you can take to help you get out of debt faster.
So even if you have everything planned out, you will still use a card or cash to pay for your expenses.
The best option is to pay cash, as this way you can see your expenses and people tend to spend less when paying cash.
If you use cards, the idea is to avoid getting into debt again. Cash advance apps are solutions that allow you to get access to your paycheck earlier than it arrives, this way you do not use credit cards.
The borrowed money will be deducted from your next paycheck and the fees are usually small.
It is better to borrow from cash advance apps in the short term instead of using your credit card and end up piling up more debt.
However, I would like to recommend you use cash. Cash belongs to you. You spend what you can afford.
If you don't have money and you have to get it on loan. It is better to avoid buying those things.
7. Use Various Coupons For Each Of Your Expenses
Your expenses might fluctuate, but your task is to keep them low and to find every possible way to reduce them.
Food is an expense that can be managed very well via coupons.
The idea is to use coupons to get discounts.
Your local grocery store lists them in the weekly magazine. The local newspaper usually posts coupons on the last pages . There are also online options where you can get digital coupons.
8. Know Your Debt Ratio
Now that you know what you can afford to spend and whatnot, it is time to know the ratio of your debt to your revenue.
Add up all your debt and divide that by your yearly revenue.
The idea is that if you get a value larger than 1, you cannot afford any indulging behaviours and the truth is that you cannot afford any fun activities or that matter.
If your debt is the same or larger than revenue, then you will keep incurring more debt and it is a sign that you cannot afford the current lifestyle.
Pay close attention to this metric and measure it every 3 months. This way you can track your progress on paying off your debt. This metric should constantly decrease.
9. Try To Negotiate Everything
Now that you know your budget, it is time to start negotiating those expenses.
The idea is that the expenses that you have are perfectly negotiable. From utilities, telephone bills, to even credit card rates.
Call the provider of each of the bills that you think are negotiable in your situation.
Let them know that you are on a budget and you are evaluating your options.
For the credit card companies, let them know that you are willing to pay larger upfront sums if given the chance to get a reduction in interest rates.
For services that you use, let them know that you are checking on the market and their competitors.
No company wants to lose a client, so they will be forced to hear you out and work out a deal with you.
Try to reduce any expenses that you have. This will help you to pay your debts faster and quicker, as you will have less expense and more money to put toward monthly credit payments.
10. Use Debt Consolidation Loans
Part of the negotiation process with the credit card companies is the debt consolidating process and balance transfer cards option.
If the credit card company refuses to reduce your interest rate, it is time to find another option.
The debt consolidation process involves combining all of your current loans in one loan with a fixed rate. Thus you will only have to make only 1 payment each month .
There are many lenders who engage in debt consolidating loans. This way you can get a reduced average interest rate and pay less in combined monthly payments.
11. Use Balance Transfers Cards
The second option involves balance transfers cards .
The idea is to borrow money from another credit card company, usually with 0% interest for the first year, and then use that borrowed money to pay off your current credit lines.
The idea is to buy time and to not pay interest for a short period of time . Make sure to read the fine script of the new loan as there might be hidden fees or any upfront deposits.
There are many lenders that engage in balance transfers cards .
12. Pay More Than the Minimum
Whatever is your budget situation, find a way to pay more than the minimum monthly payments on your cards.
The minimum monthly payment is designed to keep you in debt forever as you are not able to pay the principal on time because with time interest will compound and will keep increasing your debt. This will be dig deeper the debt well.
13. Increase Your Monthly Revenue
Now that we have listed how you can manage your expenses and how you can save money, let’s talk about income.
You should do the best that you can to increase revenue. There are multiple steps that you can take to increase your revenue.
The first step is to get more for what you are already doing. This means asking for a raise, always if that applies to you and if you have done a good job.
Higher revenue will help you to pay debt faster. If you cannot get a raise, see if you can get more working hours at your job.
The next step to increase your revenue is to get a second job or work in a gig.
This means filling up some hours at the local grocery shop, maybe working a night time job.
You can choose a second job that fits your schedule and that pays enough to help you pay the debts faster.
Due to the massive growth of the gig economy, there are various options that you can work from home.
Find a skill that you are very good at. That might be data entry, translations, teaching a foreign language, teaching an instrument, etc .
The idea is that if you are good at something, somebody else might need your expertise, and with the right marketing and the right price, you can find a client online.
There are various resources online that you can use to learn how to start a side gig.
Such a process will be a great learning experience and it will reward you financially while offering you the freedom to make your own schedule .
14. Try to Sell Things
The other thing that you can do to increase your revenue is to sell things.
You can sell items that you do not need, and you can even sell your car and buy a cheaper one.
It all depends on you.
You can do that via a garage sale or via an online store. Attached is a list of how you can get started with selling products online .
Getting out of debt is as easy as you got into it.
You just have to be mindful of your expenses and your income.
Try to reduce as much as you can from your expenses and try to increase as much as you can your revenue.
Try to pay off more than the minimum amount and find a way to have some money saved for any emergency.
Always factor in that life has surprises, so do your best to keep a spare amount of money saved to cover any problems that might arise.