Ten Ways to Help Get Out of Debt

August 27, 2009

getting out of debtGetting into debt is a very easy thing to do, especially in the current financial environment. But getting out of debt is much more difficult. When you let debt get out of control, it can take many years, and often many thousands of dollars, to get it all paid off.

But if you have a plan, getting out of debt doesn’t have to be too painful. Many of these items are very easy to do. You just need to focus some time and energy to help with your situation. Here are ten things you can do to pay off those bills quickly.

1. Sell your unwanted stuff. Most of us have a lot of things just sitting around collecting dust. Many of these items are worth at least a little bit of money, and some may be worth quite a bit. Put them in the paper, have a yard sale or sell them on eBay. Then put every penny that you make toward paying off your debt. This won’t bring you ongoing funds to pay off your debt with, but it will help you put a dent in it and avoid some interest.

2. Start a side business. Even those who work full time can usually find the time to participate in some money-making activities after work or on the weekends. Do some babysitting, detail cars or make crafts and sell them. These activities can generate money to put toward your debt until it is paid in full without the pressures of working a second job.

3. Make money online. You can do so in a number of ways, including taking surveys, blogging or providing services. Use the money you make to pay off your debts.

4. Rework your budget. We can all find room for improvement. Even small items such as that daily cup of coffee on the way to work can make an impact. Cut the fat and put the money you save toward your debts.

5. Sell your car. If your car payment is a burden, selling it and buying something more affordable will leave more money in the budget (and more to pay off other debts).

6. Snowball it. This method involves paying as much as possible toward your largest debt until it’s paid off, and in the meantime making only minimum payments on everything else. When the first debt is paid in full, apply the amount you were paying on it to the next smallest debt in addition to its minimum payment. Keep doing this until your debts are all paid.

7. Consolidate your debts. If you have a lot of high-interest debt, consider transferring the balance to a low- or no-interest credit card. This will give you one monthly payment instead of many and lower your minimum payment and interest. But you still need to pay as much as possible each month to achieve maximum savings.

8. Pay bills weekly or biweekly. If you get paid every week, send in ¼ of the payment each week. If you get paid every other week, send ½ each time you get paid. This could save you interest, and you’ll end up making an extra monthly payment each year.

9. Negotiate with your creditors. If you’re having trouble making your payments, some will offer lower interest rates and reduced minimums.

10. Talk to a credit counselor. They will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf, and can often get deals that creditors won’t offer directly to debtors. When it’s all said and done, you can make one monthly payment to the credit counseling agency and they will forward payment to your creditors. With their plan, you could be debt free in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.

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