We all know that debt can be a burden, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to get started paying it off. We have put together four easy steps to help put you on track for paying down your debt faster.
1. Make a list of all your debts
To become debt-free, you have to start by knowing what you’re up against. A good first step is to get organized and understand your debts, how much you owe, the interest rates, and the repayment terms. This will help you make informed decisions when it comes to reducing your debt burden. Write it all down on a piece of paper or use a spreadsheet. Use whatever method is easiest for you to see all the information in one place.
2. Evaluate the different repayment methods
There are dozens of debt relief plans out there, so it’s a good idea to explore which ones tap into your natural motivations and use those to help get your debt paid off. Here are a few popular methods:
Debt Snowball – The Snowball Method works by ranking your debts in the order of amount owed and paying off the lowest balance first. The Snowball Method is great for those motivated by quick wins and need to see progress made to help keep their momentum going.
The Debt Reduction Plan – This is excellent for people who want to reduce their monthly payments but don’t have the money to pay off all their debts at once. You’ll divide your debt into categories, each with a different repayment schedule. After you’ve paid off a category’s worth of debt, you can start working on the next one. This is great for those who want to knock out debt on a categoric level.
Debt Avalanche – Similar to the Snowball Method, the Avalanche Method starts by paying off the highest interest rate debt and then working your way down and is the fastest way to get out of debt due to it knocking out your highest interest-accruing debt quickly. The Avalanche Method works best for those who can handle a slow burn on seeing progress but know it’s for the greater good.
3. Look for ways to earn extra money
One of the best ways to reduce your debt burden is to come up with creative ways to make extra money that you can divert directly to your debt repayment. Here are a few options:
Freelance work – If you have skills that others want to buy, there’s a good chance you can find freelance work doing just that. Many online services offer freelancers fair pay and fast payments, especially those like Jobble that utilize the indi debit card to offer instant payments for approved work.
Online surveys – Taking surveys can be a fun way to earn some extra money and learn about new products and services. While not everyone will be approved to participate and get paid, many survey companies offer great rewards systems that can add up over time.
Crowdsourcing – When people need something done quickly, they turn to crowdsource platforms like Craigslist or Fiverr. These platforms allow people with different expertise (from lawyers to graphic designers) to provide one-off services in exchange for money.
Share your talents – One of the best ways to make extra money is by sharing what you know — whether that’s music, painting, or cooking. If you’re good at something, there’s a good chance someone else would love to pay you for your expertise.
4. Maximize available tax deductions and incentives
Many people don’t realize that they can deduct their student loan repayments and some freelance-related business expenses from their income taxes, which can significantly reduce the amount of money they owe each year. Plus, many other financial incentive programs could help you save money on repayments. Visit the self-employment pages on the IRS website for more information.
The bottom line
It can be hard to stay on track when trying to reduce your debt, but there are plenty of online and in-person resources to help you stay motivated. Dedicate some time each week to reviewing your progress, setting new goals, and sticking to those plans until you reach your goal — it will be worth it!
This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. We recommend that you independently research your personal situation and, if necessary, consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.