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Being stuck with monthly payments can be overwhelming, but you can escape that life. Try these eleven ways to get out of debt and start crushing your money goals today.
Living in debt can be a crushing feeling. I know, I’ve been there. Debt comes with worry, stress, and overwhelm. Luckily, you don’t have to be in debt.
It’s not easy to get out of debt, but I can promise you it is 100% worth it.
After learning about the eleven ways to get out of debt, you’ll be ready to get started today. You can banish your money worries and take back control of your income.
This post is all about ways to get out of debt and how to get started crushing your financial goals.
1. Start a Budget
Starting a budget is a total game-changer for getting out of debt. A budget helps you to identify where you are doing the most of your spending and to determine what things are most important to you.
Many people associate a budget with restrictive living and sacrifice, but I’ve found a budget is very freeing. It is an excellent start to the ways to get out of debt.
Here are four steps to get started with creating a monthly budget:
- List your bills in order of due date.
- List your monthly expenses.
- Deduct the amount of your bills and monthly expenses from your income.
- Use any extra left in your budget to pay off your debt.
[RELATED POST: The Importance of Budgeting and 7 Surprising Benefits]
2. Track Your Progress Daily
Once you’ve created your budget, you’ll want to use a budget tracking system to monitor your daily purchases and expenses.
To do the daily tracking, you’ll write down each expense for that day and deduct it from your income for the month. Not only does this keep you aware of your spending, but it also allows you to identify areas in which you might be overspending.
There are several ways to track your expenses. Finding the one that works best for you is important. Don’t be afraid to try more than one option until you find the one you like best.
Here are some of the popular expense tracking systems:
- Paper trackers
- Spreadsheet trackers, such as Google Sheets or Excel
- App trackers, such as EveryDollar or Mint
- Online Bank trackers (many banks offer online tracking)
3. Use the Envelope System
The envelope system is an old system that my parents and grandparents used before credit cards were common. This system can help you stay on track with your spending.
One of the biggest hurdles to paying off debt can be overspending during the month. By using the envelope system, you can be sure that you only spend the amount of money that you have allocated for the month on each category in your budget.
Follow these five easy steps to begin using the cash envelope system:
- Identify a category for cash, such as groceries. In our example, we’ll say we’re budgeting $350 for groceries each month.
- Withdraw $350 and place it into a cash envelope labeled “Groceries”.
- Every time you go to the store and buy groceries, you pay with the cash from your envelope. IMPORTANT: You must make sure you know how much you can spend each week, so you do not run out of grocery money before the end of the month.
- Write the date and how much you spent on the envelope, to track your cash spending.
- When your envelope is empty at the end of the month, you must quit spending in that category.
If you don’t want to use actual envelopes in this system, you can pick up a cash envelope wallet, like the one I use that is made to work with cash.
4. Use the Debt Snowball
I highly recommend using the debt snowball as one of your ways to get out of debt. My family used the debt snowball to pay off over $107,000 in debt.
The snowball system is very easy to implement, and you can start it today, no matter how much money you make. This system is one of the main ways to get out of debt that my family used.
Follow these 6 steps to implement the debt snowball:
- List all of your debts from smallest to largest.
- Pay all minimum payments on your debts, except the smallest.
- Put all the extra money that you can on the smallest debt.
- Pay the smallest debt off as fast as possible.
- Roll the amount you were paying on the smallest debt into your payment on the second smallest debt.
- Continue paying off debt snowballing your payment as you pay each one off.
5. Make “No Thanks” Your Favorite Phrase
If you’re a social person, this suggestion for ways to get out of debt may be difficult; however, the word no can be a game-changer for your get out of debt plan.
Whether it’s saying no to friends or family, you may come up against some protests. Staying focused on your ways to get out of debt will be necessary.
Some things you might need to say no to:
- Optional exchange gifts
- Upgrading electronics
- Going on a vacation
- Paying for daily coffee
- Going out to eat with friends, family, or coworkers
6. Cook at Home
Cooking at home can be one of the most lucrative and healthy ways to get out of debt. Not only will you save lots of money by eating at home, but you can also choose healthier foods.
As an example of the kind of savings, you can have, an average steak dinner costs around $20. For $20, you could easily purchase multiple steaks along with your sides and feed several people. Your savings could be between $40 and $60 or more.
Another benefit to cooking at home includes leftovers. Many times we have food leftover after we cook, and it’s easy to put that food away at the end of the meal. Leftover dinner is great for the next day’s lunch or another dinner.
7. Meal Plan
Along with cooking at home, another great way to save lots of money on food is to do meal planning. To meal plan effectively, you should start by determining what meals you want to have for the week.
Once you have your plan written down, you purchase only the items at the grocery store that you need to prepare those meals.
Stick to your meal plan each day, and you will not only save money but you will also alleviate any possible stress around what to make for dinner.
I’m trying out The Meal Prep King Cookbook right now if you want to try it with me.
8. Cut Cable
It’s been 12 years since we cut our cable, and have saved over $100 a month. This is a large expense that can be substituted in several ways.
Pay for a streaming service
Streaming services are much cheaper than cable. While the choices may be limited, all streaming services now boast thousands of shows and movies.
Depending on your favorite type of show or movie, there are streaming services tailored to your tastes.
Check out DVD’s from the library
Most libraries have large numbers of DVD’s available for checkout. One of the benefits of borrowing from the library is that you often have a week or longer before they have to be returned. This can save you in return fees.
Go to a restaurant to watch sports
Many restaurants keep their TVs on live sporting events. Some venues even do watch parties at their establishment.
Check out some other options for free entertainment below.
9. Use Free Entertainment
In 2022, there are many more options for free entertainment than there used to be. Two of my favorites are using streaming services that are paid for by other services and the library.
Check with your cell phone or internet provider to see what free services they may offer. Many providers have started including free streaming from Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu as part of their plan.
It may surprise you to know that the library of 2022 is not the library of your youth. Some free resources you can use from the library include:
- DVD’s- Most libraries now boast a large library of DVD’s that can be checked out for free.
- Technology- Many libraries now provide access to computers and tablets for free or at a small charge.
- Events- Libraries are expanding their free events, including special guest speakers, concerts, and outdoor movies for the family.
- Books!- Of course, the library is also full of books, and there are many benefits to reading, including lowering stress levels, living longer, and improving your ability to focus.
[RELATED POST: Save Money Plan | 7 Clever Ways to Save Money]
10. Sell Things Around the House
It might be surprising to know that you can make quite a bit of extra money selling unused items around your house. When I was getting out of debt, I sold everything from unused kitchen appliances to toys my kids outgrew and even a vehicle.
Selling a vehicle may eliminate a large chunk of your debt if you’re like me. We were able to eliminate $24,000 in debt by selling my van and driving a cheaper paid-for vehicle.
Selling items can seem a difficult task because we often don’t want to part with our things. Just to put it into perspective, they are only things and can be re-purchased at a later time.
I drove my cheaper vehicle for four years, and I only recently was able to save up, with all of the money that I no longer pay to credit cards, for a new vehicle.
While you may not get a lot of money for some of the things you sell, that money will add up, and it is one of the best ways to get out of debt.
11. Have an Accountability Partner
Whether you are married, in a relationship, or single, having an accountability partner is very important. If you are married, your spouse must be on board to make the most impact on paying off debt.
Many times spouses are not fully on board, but it’s important to work together. In full disclosure, it took 7 years for my husband to convince me that we needed to become debt-free. I’m sure it was very frustrating for him, but once we both started working on the same goal, we made great progress.
If you are not married, it will be very beneficial for you to have an accountability partner. This is someone that can ask you about how you’re doing on your goals. This person can also remind you not to spend when necessary.
Often, we justify a purchase to ourselves, but our accountability partner can remind us to stay focused on our goals.
12. Use Debt Payoff Trackers
Debt payoff trackers can be a great way to stay motivated with your ways to pay off debt. Using a tracker is very easy, and it’s a great way to get the whole family involved in your debt-free journey!
Here’s how to get started with a debt-free tracker:
- Find a tracker that you like and print it out.
- Hang your tracker in a prominent place.
- Count how many icons or spaces are on the tracker.
- Divide your total amount owed by the number of spaces on the tracker.
- Each time you pay off that amount, color in an icon or space.
- When your debt is paid off, celebrate your success!
13. Pick Up a Side Gig
Picking up a side hustle or second job is one of the best ways to get out of debt. There are many that I have tried and used to pay off the debt in the last several years. Here are some that I recommend:
Use your experience from your full-time job.
As an example, I’m a teacher in my day job, and I tutored and taught students online. This brought in several hundred extra dollars a month that we could throw on our debt.
There might be a second job that you are qualified for based on your experience in your day job.
Use your experience from your hobbies
Do you have a hobby or two that others would like to learn? This can be a great way to earn extra money. As an example, I have experience teaching music, so I directed a choir in a retirement home. Some people may teach guitar, trumpet, or archery lessons.
Many people are eager to learn a new hobby, and you could be the best person to teach them!
Sell things you make online
One of my favorite ways to make extra money for paying off debt is to sell things that I make online. I have operated an Etsy shop for a while now, and it has proven to provide my family with several hundred dollars a month we can throw at debt.
Many sellers make selling online a full-time job. That would require a lot of time and effort, but it can be a cheap and fairly easy way to earn extra money.
Start a blog
Many people are starting blogs these days to share their knowledge and to earn extra income. Blogging can be a great way to make money on the side or as a full-time job for stay-at-home moms.
After starting my blog, I’ve learned that it does take a lot of effort, but there are many resources available to help you get a good start.
If you’re interested in starting a blog, I highly recommend the course Perfecting Blogging by Sophia Lee.
I hope you’re inspired to use these ways to get out of debt and start a new debt free lifestyle.
Do you have other ways to get out of debt that you’ve used? I’d love for you to share them in a comment below.