12 Ways to Get Out of Debt Faster – The Lazy Method

debt

Feeling buried under a mountain of debt? You’re definitely not alone. Household debt in the U.S. has been on the rise, reaching a staggering $13.86 trillion. If you’re looking to break free from the debt cycle, you’re in the right place. Here are 12 practical strategies to help you regain control of your finances.

1. Pay More Than the Minimum

So, you’ve got credit card debt, and you’re tempted to make those minimum monthly payments. But here’s the thing: if you stick to the minimums, you’re in for a long, wallet-draining ride. Let’s take an example. Imagine you have a credit card balance of $1,251.20, and your minimum payment is $25. If you only pay the minimum, it’ll take you a staggering 10 years to clear that debt, and you’ll end up paying a whopping $3,105!

Now, consider this: if you could afford to pay just a bit more, say $51 a month, you’d be debt-free in about 3 years. Plus, you’d save a cool $1,239 in interest. So, the next time you get that credit card bill, think twice about paying only the minimum. A little extra each month can make a world of difference.

2. Audit Your Spending

We’ve all been there – that mindless spending that makes your wallet groan. The solution? It’s time for an expense audit. Start by tracking your spending for a few weeks. You’ll be amazed at what you find. Identify those things you’re wasting your hard-earned money on and cut them out.

A budget is your best buddy here. It helps you not only track your spending but also look for opportunities to cut costs. Need a car? Well, you can’t ditch it, but shopping around for cheaper car insurance might just save you a bundle each month.

Look at all the money you save and channel it right into paying down your debt. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can watch those debt balances drop.

3. Create a Debt Payoff Plan

Now, you know you need to pay more than the minimum, and you’ve identified where you can save. But how do you structure your debt attack? This is where a debt payoff plan comes in.

There are two cool methods to choose from – the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. The snowball strategy tells you to start with your smallest debt. It might not be the most interest-heavy one, but it gives you a quick win, and that’s motivating.

The avalanche method, on the other hand, wants you to go straight for the high-interest debt. It might not feel as rewarding initially, but in the long run, you’ll clear your debt faster and save more on interest. The choice is yours, but what’s vital is having a clear plan and sticking to it.

4. Explore a 0% APR Balance Transfer

Let’s talk about interest. It’s what makes debt grow like a snowball rolling downhill. One way to slow down this growth is with a 0% APR balance transfer to a new credit card.

Here’s how it works: find the best balance transfer offer with the longest interest-free period. Transfer as much of your high-interest balance as you can to this new card, and then start whittling down your debt. While you’re working on paying it off, you won’t accumulate any interest on the transferred balance.

Just one catch: make sure you can clear the balance before that 0% APR period ends. If you don’t, the remaining balance will be slapped with the regular interest rate. And don’t use the new card for new purchases; it’s solely for wiping out your existing debt.

debt

5. Negotiate for a Lower Interest Rate

Your credit card company isn’t just a faceless entity; it’s worth a call. If you’ve been a responsible payer, they might be open to lowering your interest rate. And guess what that means? More of your payments go straight to knocking down your debt, which helps you eliminate it faster. So, go on, pick up that phone and have a chat.

6. Think About a Personal Loan for Consolidation

Now, here’s an idea: debt consolidation with a personal loan. The concept is simple. You use a bigger loan to pay off all those smaller ones, leaving you with a single, more manageable monthly payment. It not only simplifies your debt but can also save you money in interest. And the best part? You can make extra payments to speed up your debt payoff. Sounds like a good plan, right?

7. Negotiate for Lower Bills

It’s not just your debt you can negotiate; your bills are fair game too. Ever thought about haggling for a better deal on your internet plan? You’d be surprised how many bills you can reduce, or even eliminate, with a little negotiation. Services like Trim or TrueBill can help you spot these savings, which you can then funnel straight into paying off your debt even faster.

8. Declutter and Sell Unneeded Items

When was the last time you wore that shirt or used those golf clubs? It’s time for some decluttering. Look around your house, and you’ll find items you can sell. eBay is an option, but there are tons of platforms these days, like Decluttr for electronics or thredUP for clothes.

Take the cash from these sales and pump it into your debt reduction fund. It’s a win-win – you clear your space and your debt.

9. Part-Time Work

Need a quick cash boost? Consider a part-time gig. A seasonal job, even if just for a short stint, can provide extra cash to attack your debt. Yes, it might mean a few months of hard work, but it can have a massive impact on your debt balances.

10. Start a Side Hustle

Maybe you’re looking for a more consistent income stream. A side hustle is like a part-time job, but with more flexibility. It could be driving for Lyft or Uber, walking dogs through Rover.com, freelancing, or even affiliate marketing. A side hustle can boost your earnings and keep you debt-free in the long run.

11. Harness Windfalls

Unexpected cash is always a pleasant surprise, right? So, why not put it to good use? Windfalls, like tax returns, bonuses, or gifts, can significantly reduce your principal debt, helping you escape the clutches of debt faster.

12. Celebrate Your Progress

Getting out of debt isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. To keep your motivation high, track your progress. Make a chart, and see if you can outdo your debt repayment plan. Celebrate your victories along the way. The more you turn it into a challenge, the faster you’ll reach your debt-free destination.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Strategies to Get Out of Debt Faster

Q1: I’ve been making minimum payments on my credit cards for a while. Can that work in the long run?

A1: While making minimum payments can keep your account in good standing, it’s not the quickest way to become debt-free. It can take years and cost you a lot in interest. Making more than the minimum payments can significantly accelerate your debt payoff.

Q2: How do I track my expenses to create a budget?

A2: Start by monitoring your spending for a few weeks. You can use apps or simply jot down your expenses in a notebook. Categorize them into ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’ This will give you a clear picture of where you can cut back.

Q3: What’s a debt payoff plan, and which one should I choose?

A3: A debt payoff plan is a structured strategy to eliminate debt. Two popular methods are the debt snowball and the debt avalanche. With the snowball, you start with the smallest debt, while the avalanche begins with the highest-interest debt. Choose the one that suits your psychological and financial situation.

Q4: What should I consider when doing a balance transfer to a 0% APR card?

A4: Look for cards with long introductory periods and low or no balance transfer fees. Ensure you can pay off the entire balance before the 0% APR period ends. Avoid using the new card for additional purchases to prevent accruing more debt.

Q5: How can I negotiate a lower interest rate on my credit card?

A5: Simply call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate, especially if you’ve been a good customer. The worst they can say is no, but you might succeed in reducing your rate, making it easier to pay off your debt.

Q6: What is a personal loan for debt consolidation, and how does it work?

A6: A personal loan is a single, larger loan used to pay off multiple smaller debts. This simplifies your monthly payments and might save you money on interest. You can also make extra payments to speed up your debt repayment.

Q7: How do I negotiate lower bills for services like internet or cable?

A7: You can haggle for lower bills by contacting your service providers and asking for discounts. Alternatively, you can use services like Trim or TrueBill, which can identify areas where you can reduce costs.

Q8: What’s the best way to sell unneeded items to pay off debt?

A8: You can sell items on platforms like eBay, Decluttr, or thredUP. List items you no longer need or use and convert that cash into your debt repayment fund.

Q9: Are part-time jobs a practical way to earn extra money to pay off debt?

A9: Part-time jobs, even for a short period, can be an effective way to earn extra money for debt reduction. Seasonal or temporary work can provide a significant boost to your debt repayment efforts.

Q10: What is a side hustle, and how can it help with debt reduction?

A10: A side hustle is a flexible, part-time job or business that can bring in extra income. This can include freelance work, affiliate marketing, ridesharing, and more. It offers a sustained income stream to help you pay off your debt faster.

Q11: What should I do with unexpected windfalls, like tax returns or bonuses, to expedite my debt payoff?

A11: Use windfalls to make lump-sum payments on your debt. This can substantially reduce your principal balance and speed up your journey to becoming debt-free.

Q12: Why is it important to celebrate progress in debt reduction?

A12: Celebrating progress keeps you motivated. Create a chart to track your journey and reward yourself when you reach certain milestones. Turning debt reduction into a challenge can help you stick to your plan and reach your goal faster.

Remember, the path to debt freedom is unique for everyone. Choosing the strategies that align with your situation and staying consistent in your efforts is key.

READ – 9 Important Questions to Ask About Your Credit Card Debt

I'm Darlington, a finance-focused blogger, author, and online strategist. With two published books on Amazon, I'm dedicated to simplifying finance and passive income topics. As a crypto and forex enthusiast, I explore diverse niches—stock investing, affiliate marketing, real estate, and more. Let's navigate the world of finance together, unraveling opportunities and pathways to financial freedom.
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