Getting into debt is the easy part, but you could be in for a rude awakening when you realise how much you actually owe and how much you are paying in interest each month.
Here’s 31 ways to tackle your debts, divided into four main categories.
One: Know Where You Stand
1. Make a List of Your Debts — The first step to being debt-free is to get organised, and this starts with identifying all of your individual debts, including credit cards, auto loans, home loans, personal loans, and any other debts you may have.
2. Total What You Owe and Track It — Once you have made your list, add the amount you owe for each debt. Update this amount each month as you make your repayments to see your progress.
3. Make a Plan and Follow It — Determine how you will approach paying off your debts. You can start with the debt with the highest interest rate to save the most money, or start with the smallest debts to build momentum.
Two: Reduce Your Expenses
4. Eat at Home — When trying to pay off debt, resist the urge to dine out for meals. Eating at home is typically far less costly.
5. Take Lunch to Work — Just because you are outside your home doesn’t mean you can’t still eat home-cooked meals. Instead of dining out for lunch on workdays, pack your own to save money.
6. Skip the Fancy Coffees — Gourmet coffee is a luxury that many of us would rather not give up, but preparing your own coffee at home before you leave for work can save you a lot of money over time.
7. Shop with a List (and Stick to It) — To help minimise food waste and reduce your grocery costs, always make a shopping list before you head to the market. This will prevent you from buying things you don’t really need.
8. Buy in Bulk — For items that won’t spoil, like toilet paper and canned goods, buy in large quantities. In most cases, the more you buy at once, the more you’ll save on the individual items.
9. Keep Your Kids Informed — Talking about your finances with your kids can be challenging, but it is important that they understand that things don’t come for free.
10. Get Comfortable with Saying NO — Whether it is when your friends want to go out to eat at a fancy new restaurant or your kids want the latest hot toy, you need to know when to pass and say no to spending money.
11. Resist Temptation to Buy Stuff You Don’t Need — Shopping opportunities are everywhere, and product displays are designed to make you want to buy. Exercise your willpower and only buy the things you truly need.
12. Use Discount Vouchers — Coupons and other discounts can save you a lot of money. If you don’t need a particular item immediately, it may be worth your while to wait until it is on sale.
13. Buy Things Second-Hand — Buying a car that is a few years old can save you nearly half of the purchase price for a perfectly good vehicle. Thrift and vintage clothing stores often have barely-worn pieces that you can get for a fraction of the original cost.
14. Cancel TV and Streaming Services — While the monthly cost for these services may seem small, they can add up over time, especially if you subscribe to multiple services. Stick with just one that you use most often – or cut ties entirely.
15. Find Entertainment for Free — Take advantage of free entertainment opportunities, like concerts in parks or kids’ programming at your local community centre.
16. Use Your Local Library — Borrow books and DVDs for free instead of paying for them. Many libraries also offer children’s programmes for your little ones.
17. Skip the Pricey Hobbies — Collecting rare coins, jet-skiing, tasting fine wines and other hobbies are great entertainment, but they aren’t as great for your wallet. You may need to put some of your more costly hobbies on hold while you get your debt under control.
18. Cancel Your Gym Membership — Get your exercise outside instead. Look online for tips for exercising in the outdoors.
19. Get Rid of Your Car — If you have a sizable monthly car payment, you may wish to sell your vehicle and take public transportation instead, especially if you don’t drive often.
20. Negotiate for Lower Interest Rates — When creditors know you are serious about repaying your debts, they will be more willing to be flexible on your interest rate. It never hurts to ask.
Three: Increase Your Income
21. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need — If you clean out your garage or storage unit, you may find that you are sitting on a gold mine.
22. Start a Business on the Side — Find another way to use your skills to boost your income outside of your regular job. Sell crafts, babysit or do anything else you enjoy.
23. Get a Part-Time Job — Picking up a few extra shifts at a local restaurant or retail store can bring in the extra cash you need.
24. Earn More in Your Spare Time — Thanks to the gig economy and services like Uber and Fiverr, you can pick up small jobs whenever you have time.
25. Ask for a Raise — Many people are underpaid simply because they never asked for higher wages. You could be long overdue for a pay increase.
Four: Change Your Habits to Get Out of Debt
26. Ditch the Credit Cards — You don’t want to add to the debt you are trying to pay off, so use cash or a debit card whenever possible.
27. Create a Budget — It’s easy to overspend when you don’t track your spending. Making a budget can help you stay on track each month.
28. Ignore the Joneses — It can be tempting to try to keep up with what your neighbours are buying, but this can be a recipe for disaster if you can’t afford it. Stick with what your family needs, not what everyone else seems to have.
29. Put Every Extra Cent Towards Your Debt — Any time you receive more money than you typically do, like a big tax refund or a commission for landing a big client, use it to pay down your debt.
30. Create an Emergency Fund — Save money whenever you can. This will prevent you from having to take on more debt to cover unexpected expenses.
31. Get Help — You don’t have to do this alone. If you are serious about getting out of debt, get in touch with Debt Negotiators today. We can provide free financial advice to help you evaluate your options and choose the most appropriate one for your needs so that you can get out of debt faster.
Get in touch with us today to get started.