This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
I know exactly how you feel, you just want it gone. It’s been hanging over you for forever, and you feel like the ant trying to crawl out of the sand as it gushes in on itself. Like the Swamp of Sadness in The Neverending Story, it will consume you and destroy your life if you let it in. There is a way out. It takes grit, determination, and belief in yourself. Here are ways to pay off debt faster.
Know Your Debts
Before you can tackle them, you need to be clear on exactly what you owe. A vague plan will get you nowhere, so it’s time to sit down and lay it all out in front of you.
This is the hardest part, as you probably feel safer not knowing, but what you’re actually doing is denying yourself to live freely. Sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich isn’t going to make the problem go away. You just can’t see it.
Being in debt is pretty much the same as imprisonment. Your life is not your own, and your money is already promised to another before it even has a chance to slip through your fingers.
Pay off Debt: Make it a Project
Take the first step in empowerment and spread the job out in front of you.
The reality is this: You have a job to do, and like every goal, you’re going to have to break it down into milestones. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Set Your Debt-Free Date
Set a realistic date to have all of your debt paid off. This could be 30 months, 36 months, or less. Don’t be too ambitious. You don’t want to discover you can’t meet your goal and lose faith, and risk undoing all of your hard work.
Work Out What You Need to Pay Each Month
Now that you have a date in mind, take how much you owe and divide it by the number of months.
If this is unrealistic, adjust your debt-free date until it is realistic.
You should already be paying minimum monthly repayments, so your monthly figure will include what you’re already paying.
Say you need £500 a month to pay off £6,000 in the next 12 months, and your minimum monthly repayments total £300, you need to make an extra £200 a month.
Set Up Minimum Payments
If you’re not already paying the minimum, you need to start now. This will keep your creditors off your back and give you some breathing space. It will also give you the opportunity to see where you can free up some more money to put towards it.
How to Make Extra Money to Pay Off Debt
There are two ways you can do this, and both are essential for debt payoff to work. The first is to reduce your spending, and STOP USING CREDIT. The second is to increase your income.
Cut Back on Spending
The one thing I always insist on is the need for a budget. Having a budget (which is when you decide where your money should go), is the only way you’re going to get a handle on your finances and how you manage your money.
By going through your expenses with a fine-toothed comb, you can see immediately where you are able to/need to cut back, and can save yourself money quicker than you think. That saved money is then going to go towards your debts.
Side-Hustle Your Socks Off
OK, maybe not until your socks come off, but finding extra ways to make money will supercharge your debt-repayment.
There are plenty of ideas to help you do this, and I recommend you start with a few easy ways to make money, before moving on to other methods which will take more effort but give better results.
Here are a few ideas to start you off:
De-clutter Your Living Space
Your home is likely full of stuff you don’t want, need or use anymore. So, sell it. Sell it on eBay, Facebook marketplace, Shpock, or down at your local car boot sale. You’ll be amazed at what people will buy. But don’t just list on or two items, list EVERYTHING that you want to get rid of. What doesn’t sell, give to charity.
Find Some Good Survey Sites
While sites like Qmee, Attapoll and YouGov are great for quick surveys, there are better-paying sites out there such as Prolific Academic, and Respondent which can pay up to $55 and more per research project.
Use Task Apps
Believe it or not, you can make money by popping in to your local supermarket, taking some photos, and answering some questions. Some you will need to introduce yourself, and some will be incognito. But it’s a great stepping stone to the next option. My favourite task apps are BeMyEye and Roamler.
Become a Mystery Shopper
I love mystery shopping. I love the fact you can be whoever you want to be, whether that be a diner checking on the service delivery and presentation of your meal, or a customer trying on clothes in a boutique (that was my personal favourite). To get into mystery shopping, check out this post here.
Become an eBay Reseller
Have you ever browsed a car boot sale and picked up a bargain? You could turn that bargain into a profit by flipping it on eBay. There’s a HUGE market out there. This is a great way for someone with an eye for a bargain to make a little sum of money (business sales must be declared to the tax man).
Other ways you could make extra money would be to get a part-time job or start your own side-hustle business. A part-time job will offer the quickest route to extra money, but if the entrepreneur idea appeals to you, here are some business/side-hustle ideas you could look at.
Pay Down Your Debt!
Now that you’ve freed up some cash and have some extra coming in, here’s how you can tackle getting your debt paid off:
Use the Debt Snowball Method
List your debts, smallest to largest. The idea behind this is that you pay the smallest debts off first. They’re the easiest debts to clear as they’re smaller.
You pay your minimum payments, then throw as much money as you can at the smallest debt, to get it paid off faster. When your first debt is cleared, you take the money you were putting towards the minimum repayments on the cleared debts, and put them towards the next debt on the list, then throw as much money as possible at the next-sized debt. And so on.
I used this method to clear my first three debts of my own debt snowball.
Use The Debt Avalanche Method
This is the method I’m currently using, as I have two credit cards with 0% interest that will be up imminently.
The debt avalanche method is where you pay the debts with the highest interest rate first, (such as credit cards) to avoid attracting more debt. If you focus on a debt with no accruing interest while leaving a credit card balance dormant and attracting interest, you’ll pay more in the long run.
Keep paying the debts off in order of interest rate from highest to lowest. It doesn’t offer results as fast as the snowball method, but it does stop you attracting more interest.
As you progress in paying off your debt, just seeing it go down is a great motivator to keep going. I have a progress bar on my blog and my social media channels to display my progress.
The most important thing of all is to stop using credit. Adjust your spending habits, stick to a budget, and throw as much money at debt as you can. It’s the only way to pay off debt faster.