Are you looking for a shortcut to get out of debt earlier than you are currently on track to do? There are two ways that will build momentum in your debt repayment efforts. The first way is through the creditors themselves granting you some sort of relief, and the second way is for you to change how you are sending in your monthly payments (either by submitting additional money, or by creating a debt payoff strategy such as what you will find on ReadyForZero).
Here’s your challenge: find several options from the list below that resonate with you, and go get ’em! You get bonus points for trying out ideas that are from both sides of the momentum-building equation.
Remember, the sooner you amp up your debt repayment process, the quicker you will experience that high called debt freedom.
1. Become a Virtual Assistant on the Side: There are many legitimate sites where you can sell your time and skill set. Perhaps you are good at resume writing, you want to transcribe, or you have some other skill (graphics?). To get you started earning extra cash, check out similar listings on Elance.com or Odesk.com for ideas as well as price ranges. Then, submit your own!
2. Carpool (and Possibly Get Rewarded to Do So): Carpooling is a great way to cut your monthly gas costs considerably, enabling you to use that money for debt repayment. If you are in the Connecticut, Hampton Roads VA, San Antonio/Houston TX, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington DC Metro areas, this site will reward you with points (on top of your extra cash flow) for carpooling, taking the bus/train/light rail, walking, telecommuting, or bike riding instead of driving in your car alone.
3. Make Sure You Apply for All Eligible Tax Deductions and Credits: Many people miss important (and lucrative) tax credits or deductions. If you are unsure of how to do your taxes or what you are eligible for, then it could save you money in the long run to hire a professional (hint, generally the cost of getting your taxes professionally done is tax deductible as well).
4. Set Up an Easy Gig on Fiverr.com: You can only make $5 on fiverr.com per gig (and fiverr.com takes a cut of that as well), but if you can think of a service or sustainable offering that is automated, then you could make some good side income for a small time investment.
5. Take Your Entertainment Budget Down to Zero (and still have fun): Challenge yourself to take your entertainment budget down to $0 every other month. Don’t worry, you can still have plenty of fun in the process.
6. Shave $20 Off Your Monthly Grocery Budget: Perhaps you don’t want to become a couponer. Instead, how about aim for spending $20 less per month on your groceries? That is an extra $240 per year you can put towards your debt (every dollar counts!).
7. Dog Walk and Pet Sit: This is a great way to get some exercise and make some extra cash. Post your ad in a community bulletin board, Facebook page, Craigslist, or just spread the word among dog owners. A friend of mine just started two months ago and pulled in $1300 so far!
8. Scrap Metal: Do you have a truck? You can pick up people’s old appliances/other scrap metal and actually trade it in at your local center for some cold, hard cash. Money earned is based off of metal type and weight.
9. Get Rid of Unused Subscriptions and Memberships: My husband and I conducted an audit of our credit card payments and overall spending, and found two subscriptions that we no longer use! Do the same and see if you can’t open up some cash to throw at your debt.
10. Mystery Shop Your Oil Changes and Date Nights Out: I’ve gotten the last five oil changes for free by completing a mystery shop (the company I use is intelli-shop.com), as well as several dates at our favorite pub and even at a local horse race track. Use the money you didn’t spend on these services towards your debt repayment.
11. Cash Out Credit Card Rewards: Is it time to cash out your credit card reward points? See if you can get a statement credit, actual cash, or get a gift card for a purchase you were planning to make anyway so that you can use that money towards debt repayment.
12. Earn Cash for Searching the Internet: Did you know that you can earn points (‘Bucks’) for doing what you do already, and then cash them into your PayPal account? Check out Swagbucks. You won’t be sorry.
13. Take Leftovers for Lunch: Maybe the thought of making a sandwich or salad seems like too much of a time commitment. But how about just putting some leftovers in a Tupperware container while you’re putting away food after dinner?
14. Pick Up Extra Shifts at Work: Sometimes the easiest way to bring in extra cash is to ask for more work (if you are paid hourly…salary workers, you probably don’t want to do this).
15. Get a Seasonal Part-Time Job: Do you have time to work at a Christmas tree lot in the winter? Or become a weekend camp counselor in the summer? There are lots of seasonal opportunities that can be a great, temporary infusion of cash to help you reach your goal quicker.
16. Ask for a Raise: The fact is, increasing your pay can turbo boost your debt repayment, so it’s worth it to ask! Ramit is a great go-to resource for helping you do this knee-wobbling task.
17. Write an eBook and Sell it on Amazon.com: These days, anyone can become an author! Write an eBook on something you excel in, and set it up to sell while you sleep on Amazon.com. Be sure to check out KDP Select for some free, exclusive sales tools.
18. Host a Digital Yard Sale: Gather up all of those extra belongings you’ve been meaning to get rid of and take an afternoon to list them on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, local Facebook groups, etc.
19. Increase Your Monthly Payments Automatically: If you set your monthly payment higher (and stretch yourself), then it will become the norm. Not only will you pay the debt off sooner, but you will not notice the missing money after awhile.
20. Gather Your Loose Change: We have a lovely cow ‘piggy’ bank we picked up on our honeymoon where all of our change goes. Once a year or so we cash this in, and last time we had close to $100! See how much change you gather, cash in, and pad your next debt payment (every little bit helps, right?).
21. Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate: Call up your credit card, medical creditors, and others to ask for a lower interest rate.
22. Pay Down Your Highest Costing Debt First: Whichever debt has the highest interest rate, regardless of the debt amount, should be the one you pay down first if you want to get out of debt more quickly. Of course you will want to continue paying the minimums on all of your debts.
23. Cut Cable (without Saying Goodbye to Television): There are many cheaper alternatives to cable that this really isn’t much of a sacrifice (especially for how much money you will open up to use for debt repayment). You could sign up for Netflix and find many of the shows you enjoy, or hulu. Or you can purchase a roku (one-time fee that is less than one month’s cable bill) and enjoy lots of television shows for free.
24. Leverage Your Social Network: Some of the services you currently use probably have an affiliate network. For example, our electric company gives us a $50 bill credit each time we refer someone to them who signs up for a plan. Sign up for your own plan’s affiliate program, and start touting their benefits to your family and friend members!
What are some ways you have figured out to ignite your debt repayment process? Let’s help each other out!
Image Credit: DeaVanessium