6 Legit Ways to Pay Off Debt Quickly

by Deacon Hayes

By combining some or all of these ideas for getting out of debt, you can pay off your debt quickly and start using your hard-earned money for bigger and better financial goals. It’s how this couple paid off $52k in 18 months!

Are you struggling with debt and wondering how you’ll ever be able to get free and live a life without high consumer debt balances and constant payments?

We were there once. When my wife Kim and I first got married, we sat down to take a look at our combined finances and came to the realization that we owed over $52,000 in consumer debt between the two of us.

We knew we didn’t want to make high debt balances a normal part of our married life, so we created a plan to get the debt paid off quickly. Our plan worked, and we were able to pay off all $52k of our consumer debt after only 18 months.

Getting out of debt changed our lives so drastically that we are now on the road to early retirement. In my book, You Can Retire Early!, I teach people how to make a plan that will help them get out of debt and retire 10, 20 or even 30 years earlier than the “normal” retirement age of 65.

Retiring early can be doable for everyone, but I strongly suggest starting by paying off all consumer debt. Here are six things you can do to make consumer debt freedom happen quickly.

1. Create a Financial Game Plan

There’s an old quote that says “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” If you really want to get out of debt fast, you’re going to need a solid plan.

In other words, don’t just say, “I’m going to pay off $20,000 in debt in the next 12 months.” Instead, create a budget that includes specific steps for doing that.

Divide the amount of debt you want to pay off by the number of months you want it paid off in. Using the example above, if you wanted to pay off $20k in debt in 12 months, you would need to create a budget that allowed for just under $1700 per month to be put toward principal payments on debt.

After you’ve determined how much money you need to have each month in order to accomplish your debt payoff goal, you’ve got to figure out how you’ll get that money.

This type of financial game plan (one that is detailed and concrete) will help you pay off your debt quickly.

Have you overspent your way into debt?

Make a plan to get back out. Get How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have and create a debt payoff plan personalized to your budget and lifestyle.

2. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need

Selling stuff we didn’t really need was instrumental in helping us get out of debt so quickly. I’ll tell you that selling the stuff we’d grown attached to wasn’t always easy.

We sold our two newer cars and bought reliable used cars with the cash we had leftover, we sold our gaming system which had been a great source of entertainment, and we sold a lot of higher end clothes and accessories as well.

By telling ourselves that we were selling our stuff as a means to be able to live a higher quality of life, we found the motivation we needed to get the money we needed to pay off our debt quickly.

Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook are all great venues for selling stuff so you can pay off your debt fast. If selling your things sounds intimidating, just remind yourself that once you are debt free, you’ll be able to buy better stuff with cash.

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3. Refinance High Interest Debt

High interest rates will definitely hinder your ability to pay off debt. Here’s an example. If you have a credit card with a $15,000 balance and a 16% interest rate, you’ll be paying $200 in interest each month just on that balance alone.

By transferring high interest credit card debts to zero balance cards or other low interest loan vehicles, you’ll be paying much less in interest and putting much more of your cash toward principle payments, meaning those balances will be paid off faster.

4. Trim Expenses without Trimming Your Lifestyle

Trimming expenses is a vital part of paying off debt fast, but you can do so without drastically changing your lifestyle.

Let’s look at three common expenses that can put a serious dent in your budget, and how you can trim them without having to give up doing what you like to do altogether.

Cable TV

Cable and satellite TV packages can cost upwards of $150-$200 a month with all of the bells and whistles. If you’re willing to cut the cord and go with a streaming alternative such as Netflix or Sling, you can save close to $100 a month or more that can be used to put toward debt payoff.

Gym Memberships

It’s important to take care of your health. However, gym memberships can be costly. If you trade in your $100 a month gym membership for a workout plan that you can do at home or outdoors, you’ve got an extra $100 a month for your debt payoff goals.

Here are some ideas for workouts that don’t cost much money.

  • Work out at home with free weights or by using your body weight (i.e. pushups, etc.)
  • Plan hiking, biking, walking or running trips at local parks
  • Walk the malls when the weather is not conducive to outdoor workouts
  • Find a great workout DVD that focuses on activities you like

You may have to spend a little bit of cash to make home workouts happen, but it will definitely be less than what you spend for a gym membership.

Eating Out and Entertainment

This is another big expense for people, easily accounting for a few hundred a month in spending. However, you can cut restaurant and other entertainment expenses by taking advantage of cheaper entertainment options.

For instance, you can invite friends to your house and have a potluck dinner or make a homemade version of your favorite restaurant meal.

You can do game or movie nights at home with friends or family members. Or take advantage of free concerts or other free entertainment in your city.

Keeping in mind that these frugal alternatives are for a specified period of time and not forever will help make the transition to spending less easier.

5. Have an Accountability Partner

Having an accountability partner can help you pay debt down faster because an objective, trustworthy accountability partner won’t be afraid to call attention to ways you can spend less in order to reach your debt payoff goals.

Choose someone who will be honest with you and will keep your plan confidential.

6. Find Extra Ways to Make Money

Making extra cash is another way you can get out of debt fast. That might mean picking up overtime hours at your full time job, getting a temporary second job, or picking up a side hustle such as mowing neighborhood lawns or babysitting.

Commit to putting all extra cash toward debt payoff and avoid temptation to spend it on fun stuff.

By combining some or all of these ideas for getting out of debt, you can pay off your debt quickly and start using your hard-earned money for bigger and better financial goals.

Reviewed January 2020

About the Author

Deacon Hayes is the founder WellKeptWallet.com which helps people make money, save money, and pay off debt. He has been featured in many news publications including Yahoo Finance, US News & World Report, CNN Money and more.

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