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How To Get Out Of Debt Faster

The unfortunate thing is that the space between realizing the importance of paying off your debt and actually getting out of debt can be characterized by heartache and hard work. Paying off your debt, irrespective of what kind it is may take years if not decades.

The fortunate thing is that you can employ strategies to help you pay off your debt in a faster and less painful way. If you would like to get rid of your debt, consider the following tried-and-true strategies:

How To Get Out Of Debt Faster

  1. Paying off More Than the Minimum Payments

If you have a credit card balance of $15,609, which is the average, pay a typical 15 percent APR, and make a payment of $625, which is the minimum monthly amount, you will require 13.5 years to pay off your debt. However, this will only be possible if you do not add to your balance in the meantime, which is a challenge by itself.

Irrespective of the debt you are carrying be it student loans, personal loans, or credit card debt, one of the best way to pay it off faster is to make payments higher than the minimum amount every month. If you do this, you will not only save on interest over the life of the loan, but the payoff process will be speeded up too. To avoid any headaches, ensure that the loan does not charge prepayment penalties before getting started.

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  1. Trying the Debt Snowball Approach

If you fancy paying more than the minimum monthly payments on credit cards and other debts, you can use the debt snowball approach to accelerate the process even more as well as build momentum.

The first step is to list all your debts from the smallest to the largest. All the excess funds should be thrown at your smallest balance while you make minimum payments of the larger loans. Once you pay off the smallest balance, start putting the extra money towards the next least debt until you have paid it off, and so on.

The small balances will disappear one after the other over time, thus freeing up more dollars for you to throw at the larger loans and debts. The “snowball effect” helps you pay the smaller loans and debts first thus logging a few “wins” for the psychological effect while allowing you to save the largest debts and loans for last. The ultimate goal is to snowball all the extra dollars towards your debts until you demolish them and you become free of debt.

  1. Picking Up a Side Hustle

Using the debt snowball method to attack your debts will help speed up the process, but earning additional money will help amplify your effort further. Just about everyone has a monetizable skill or talent, whether it is becoming a virtual assistant, cleaning houses, mowing yards, or babysitting.

Websites such as Upwork.com and TaskRabbit.com allow just about anyone to find some way to earn extra money on the side. The important thing is to take all that extra money and use it to pay off your debt immediately.

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  1. Create and Operate on a Bare-Bones Budget

If you are really looking to pay down your debt faster, you need to cut your expenses as much as possible. A bare-bones budget is one of the tools that you can create and use. Using this strategy, you can cut your expenses as low as possible and live on as little as possible for the longest time possible.

Everyone’s bare-bones budget looks different, but it should not include any “extras” such as cable TV, eating out, or any unnecessary spending. While living on a strict budget, it is important to pay considerably more towards debts.

Don’t forget that a bare-bones budget is meant to be temporary. Once you get out of debt or are much closer to your goal, you are free to start adding discretionary expenditure back into your monthly plan.

  1. Selling All That You Don’t Need

If you would like to raise some cash quickly, it can be a good idea to first take stock of your belongings. Most people often have stuff lying around that’s rarely used and can live without if they really needed to. You should consider selling the extra stuff and then use those funds to pay off your debts.

If the neighborhood you live allows it, a garage sale is usually the easiest and cheapest way to dispose of unwanted belongings for a profit. The other option would be to sell your items on one of the numerous online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, among others.

  1. Get a Seasonal, Part-Time Job

The holidays are coming up soon and local retailers are looking out for seasonal, flexible workers to ensure that their stores stay operational during the festive season, which is usually quite busy. If you are able and willing, you might start working one of these part-time jobs and earn some additional cash to pay off your debts.

Plenty of seasonal jobs are available even outside of the holidays. Springtime brings the need for seasonal farm jobs and greenhouse workers, while summer requires tour operators and all types of outdoor, temporary workers from landscapers to lifeguards. Fall brings seasonal work for pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and fall harvest.

The Bottom Line: Irrespective of the season, you can easily find a temporary job without a long-term commitment. However, if things get too heavy, remember it’s possible to get help.

  1. Ask for Lower Credit Card Interest Rates & Negotiate Other Bills

If your credit cards attract such high interest rates that you find it close to impossible to make any headway on the balances, you should consider calling the card issuer and negotiate. You might not believe this, but it is actually quite common for people to ask for lower interest rates. If you have a solid history of paying bills on time, there’s always the chance that you will get a lower interest rate.

Beyond the interest on your credit cards, you can negotiate down or eliminate several other types of bills. Always remember that the worst that anybody can do is say no and the less money you pay for the fixed expenses, the more the money you have available to pay off your debts.

 

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10 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Lynne.

    Unfortunately, debt is one of those things that gives me grey hair.

    I just don’t know how one can survive without debt. It is so easy to get into debt but very hard indeed to get out of it and be completely debt free.

    The problem with debt is that you intend to only spend a little but before you know it your credit card is maxed out and you’re stuck with lots of bills.

    I was thinking about seeing my bank to extend my credit card repayments period and then utilizing the extra money to pay off quicker on the small accounts.

    I know where my birthday bonus will be going to this year. Straight to my credit card. I just hope that once I’ve paid this off, that I don’t end up spending the money again.
    The problem is that living expenses just keep rising and our salaries stay the same.
    My goal this year is to have paid off at least half of the debt that I currently have.
    The first step was to downgrade my DSTV from the premium package to family package. This makes a difference from about R700.00.
    I will really miss my series that I’ve been watching for many seasons, but it’s no use watching TV and struggling to get through the month as a result.

  2. Hi Lynne,

    Thank you for another everyday hassle of life article.

    I have been in debt, and I currently making minimal re-payments on my outstanding debt. I can truly assure I am nearing the end of my debt issues.
    I can’t get car finance due to my poor credit scoring.
    This is not something that can be corrected overnight. It takes a lot of effort and time to get the payments scheduled correctly that works within a budget.
    I had met with a debt councillor whom requested that I should go through and apply for debt review. I did my own research and was not to please on my findings.
    Next year June I will be debt free, feels like a long walk to freedom.
    @loupie I also cut down on extra subscriptions. We changed over from being subscribed to the DSTV Premium to the DSTV Compact was an instant save of R200.
    There was another forum that was opened recently “Meal planning”, that also worked hand in hand with us saving.
    Small changes goes a long way.

  3. Yes so scary debt but as life is getting more expensive we all seem to be falling into the debt trap, but totally agree we should assess things and our life style and try cut out things we dont need

  4. Thanks @ron03

    Debt is a never ending cycle or this is what it feels like for me.
    There was a time when my husband was unemployed and he struggled to get work. I had to resort to debt in order to survive. The problem is once you’re in debt, it’s very difficult to get out of it again.

    I’ve been under debt review a few years ago. I had no choice and one thing you have to remember is if you decide to go under debt review, you have to choose a company that is reputable. If you enter debt review with the wrong company, it can basically ruin you and put you in even more trouble. This actually happened to a friend of mine.

    I have been with a reputable company and within five years I was completely debt free. It wasn’t easy because in the beginning I was bombarded with calls from my creditors.
    But once they know you’re under debt review, they eventually stop calling.
    I would recommend debt review for people that absolutely have no choice. If your income doesn’t cover your expenses and you’re living in the minus, then you’re a candidate for this.

    The problem I had was that my salary just covered my expenses and then I have to use my credit again to buy groceries etc. and I couldn’t pay my rent anymore. I had no choice at the time and I’m relieved that everything turned out well and I successfully completed my debt review.

    The cons of being under debt review is that you can’t open up any accounts or buy on credit again, otherwise your debt councelling get’s cancelled and you will not have a chance to gain a good credit score again. The only way to obtain a good credit score is if you complete the debt review and your debt councellors give you a clearance certifiate. You also can’t take out cell phone contracts. You’re only allowed to upgrade your current contracts

    Debt review is a better option than being black listed and if you have any problems with creditors, your debt councellors can assist you legally to avoid your possessions being confiscated or lost.

    But as I said, debt review is only an option to consider if you have no other choice.

    If you are able to get out of debt on your own, then that is the way to go.

  5. I am an attorney and I do a lot of debt review matters on behalf of the major banks. I am sometimes shocked at the decreased interest rates and repayments the banks will accept on debt review matters. However, their outlook on these matters are that they will rather receive a reduced payment than reposes and have to sell the car or house at auction. As these auction sales generally sell for far less than market value. Leaving you and the bank out of pocket. However, to enjoy these benefits you need to address the problem before it becomes a defaulting issue. Once you have defaulted on payments your bargaining power is so much less.

    Something that greatly frustrates me during these debt review matters is that debtors still want to drive new cars, have expensive cellphones, have their nails done, have DSTV, have domestics and luxury items like quadbikes. They still go on holidays and take their children to expensive outings like Disney on Ice.

    My motto is live within your means. You don’t need the latest IPhone. You don’t need a new car every three years.

    Happiness comes from within. Things can’t make you happy. Yes, they can make life easier but if you need to scale down. Do so with pride. I pride myself on the fact that I bargain hunt. I pride myself on my frugal living.

    Take pride in being money wise. Take pride in teaching your children to consume less. To be money wise. To save. it is something to be proud of.

  6. Thank you so much! This has been very informing! The Snowball effect does work! I did try it and am still using it!

  7. I love the fact that you mention that you can negotiate for lower rates. People don’t realise and really don’t know that this is possible. Like you said, “all they can really say is, no”, but it is worth the try. Before you ask though, please get your facts in order and know what you want and then you tackle them! Having debt is not favourable for anyone but sometimes the only way you can manage is by getting that loan! Talking about asking… sometimes it is also a good idea to speak to your boss and ask for an increase. Explain your situation and if you feel that you deserve a raise tell your boss about all the extra things you’ve been doing and all the extra hours you’ve been putting in. Even if you get a R500 raise this can also help you in some way. Nothing to lose if you ask. When we are young we want so many things and we sometimes get into trouble if we can’t limit ourselves. We end up with huge debt. The unfortunate thing is that it has to be paid off. I like the fact that you mentioned the “snowball effect” . I have used it in the past and it has worked for me but ultimately you have to get your mind right. You have to limit yourself and learn to live with things you cannot have. Live simple. Having a simple life doesn’t mean you have to struggle. Be creative and look a bit into your future and see yourself debt free. Make the sacrifice while you are young and you will reap the benefits eventually.

  8. That’s wonderful advice @anrivisser we also downgraded Dstv hardly eat out I had to let my domestic go and we have set a goal to free up the smaller debts by July and then focus on just one account what we were paying to those smaller accounts put it into the larger one it’s very sad we have to live with debt as our salary don’t go up as much as everything else does.

  9. This article resonates with me greatly. My family currently lives off of only my salary. My husband is a financial adviser and works off of commission base only. So if you don’t reach a target you do not get paid for the month. We had to take out credit cards, overdraft and a revolving loan to try to survive. Currently, my salary barely covers the debt we need to pay off – this does not include groceries, petrol, etc. This means that I pay off my credit card installment then I use that money again to buy groceries for the month.

    I have considered debt review but I am not sure of how the whole process works or what the implications will be for me and my family. Times are truly tough and I can only continue to hope for the best and hope that one day this debt cycle will be over. I also did not know I can negotiate a lower interest rate on my credit cards – I have never skipped a payment and have a fairly good credit score. I only know my car will be paid off in 3 years time and then hopefully I will be able to breathe a bit better by then.

    Previously, I would take a bigger loan to pay off the current debt I have. I am trying not to do that now, but it is really difficult just to see your whole salary go up into smoke.

    If anyone has any advice please pass it on as I am quite desperate to get out of this debt cycle.

  10. Hi Lynne Thank you for such an informative article. Being in debt can give you nightmares especially end of the month when you know its time to pay up. I have paid off all accounts and now only buy the things i need. I look for bargains and will only buy things if i got the cash. May be a bit of a struggle as my kids want things but i explain to them that if its a necessary then we will buy it and if its a luxury then we dont really need it right now. Sometimes we have to be tougher than the temptation.

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