If you are reading How to Get Out of Debt Fast in 4 Steps, then you probably have debt that you want to get rid of. But, secretly, you might be telling yourself that this sounds too good to be true. Maybe it will work for other people, but not you.
I said the same thing when I read other people’s debt free stories. I would love to be debt free, but it was no where in sight for me. Especially, when we didn’t have a huge income.
Guess what? I did it and I’m so happy that I put the faith in myself to do so. I had $10,000 in credit cards that I paid in 8 months!
I want to share with you the 4 steps to take starting today to get out of debt fast. I want you to have faith in yourself and don’t listen to those doubts in your head. You can still save money, build a better budget, and find ways to make extra money-even if you are already on a low income!
Getting Out of Debt
If you are living on a tight budget already, you might wonder how you could possibly find a way to reach that financial goal. When I started on my journey, I couldn’t rely on my husband’s income because he had his fixed bills. I had to get creative and take a look at what I was actually paying out a month on bills, etc.
My eyes were opened to what my situation truly was.
I knew I didn’t want to stay on an extremely tight budget the rest of our lives. I didn’t want to always struggle, just to live within our means. I had big plans for our future and I finally wanted to make it a reality. The only way to have a positive financial future was to be debt free to.
What are your dreams? Do you know what your financial future looks like? More debt? Constant financial stress and strained family relationships?
How to Pay Off Debt Fast in 4 Steps
So now that we know you want (and need) to get out of debt as fast as possible, how do you do it?
Step 1: Get Real
The crazy part is, even though you might have a college degree with a professional career, you still are not making enough to keep your head above waters.
The first step to getting out of debt is to get real about your finances. I think a majority of Americans don’t do this.
I was one of them!
If you’re living in debt and you don’t do something now to change it, it isn’t going to change on it’s own!
Once I was able to face my financial reality, I stopped whining about it, and started looking at it as a challenge.
And, I love a good challenge!
A big problem with those with college degrees is “entitlement”.
Nice car, big house, lots of vacations…middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, if you are drowning in debt, that just isn’t reality.
If it feels like it’s been so hard just to make ends meet-REALITY CHECK-that’s because it is.
It’s time for that to change-so, put your big girl/boy panties on and do it!
Only when you can face your reality, will you be able to start seeing progress.
See this article on financial reality: 15 Minutes to Find Out Where Your Money’s Going to help you more.
Step 2: Learn to Budget
Tell everyone you know you are going to get out of debt.
When you make a specific goal, a date that you are going to reach it by (very important), and tell family and friends to help become your accountability coaches.
This can be very motivating!
The next important step is creating a new and improved budget.
What worked for me was the Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball Method (affiliate link): Make minimum payments on all the debts except the smallest, and throw as much money as you can on it. Once that debt is gone, take its payment and apply it to the next smallest debt. Repeat that as you plow move your way through them. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows—like a snowball rolling downhill.
I also learned about the Zero-Sum Budget. The point of a zero-based budget is to make income minus the outgo equal zero. Example: if you cover all your expenses during the month and have $300 left over, you must tell that $300 where to go. If you don’t, you lose the chance to make it work for you.
Basically, “Tell every dollar where to go.”
I felt that these subtle changes allowed me to make it work with dramatic results!
Check out this post on budgeting for more help:
Step 3: Save Money
Are you still with me? If you are, then you have realized that this is going to be tough, but you want this bad. Think back to high school or college. Remember working hard to get that A+? This is where it’s good to remind yourself of why you want to get out of debt.
If you’re really serious about getting out of debt, you need to do absolutely everything you can to save money.
Being serious about getting out of debt means that you’re going to have to get serious about distinguishing your wants from your needs. My Money Coach states: Impulse spending habits are often linked to stress levels. A little stress can be motivating but a lot of stress can rob you of your ability to make wise choices between needs and wants.
To get out of debt fast, you need to get ready to buy nothing.
Once you figure out what you can cut down on, take that amount and have it automated into a savings account. Almost all banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. Automated transfers are a great way to save money since you don’t have to think about it and it generally reduces the temptation to spend the money instead.
I took the approach of “waiting two days” before buying anything. It really helped me realize what I really didn’t need.
This is hard at first, but making a game of it makes it easier to get through.
More Resources About Saving Money:
Step 4: Find Ways to Make Extra Money
Part of being able to save means having money to save. Cutting down on expenses helps, but sometimes, it’s not enough. At some point there is a limit where a person can’t save any more. This is a really important realization to make.
If you have a limited income and you want to pay off debt fast, you’re going to have to take on drastic measures. This could mean finding ways to bring more money in as well.
So if you’re going to get out of debt fast, you’re going to have to find a side hustle (or two!) to earn more on the side.
Selling Your Stuff to Pay Off Debt
A perfect way to earn cash is to sell anything that you don’t need.
As a blogger, I receive a lot of free items that we don’t always use. We also had items around the house like clothes and other items that were still in great shape that I could sell on Ebay. I actually have fun selling things on Ebay, like jeans that I picked up at thrift stores. I made a ton off of Ebay to help with debt.
If you think you can get away with just having one car, or a clunker that’s just sitting around, think about unloading it. If you can get out from under a car payment by sharing a car, you will pay your debt down faster for sure.
Just remember, small things can still add up fast!
Side Hustles to Pay Off Debt
After you’ve sold all that you can, it’s time to bring in a second income.
There are TONS of blogs that have side hustle ideas. In fact, I write about them as well! I’m obsessed with side hustles and love to tell people about them. Of course, you can get a regular part time job as well, like delivering pizzas, or at the mall.
Both are great ways to earn income, you just need to figure out which works better for you.
Find out how your interests and experiences can make you extra money to pay your debt down. You might even stumble upon a new career that earns you more money than your main job!
No matter your education or background or career, you have skills, talents, and passions that someone will pay you for.
Weigh your costs and expenses that come with a second income to make sure you won’t be in the negative by working. Ask family to help out with childcare if needed, or if it is something you can do at home, work around family time.
I’m not trying to scare you again, but once again, finding the time and energy to make extra income is not going to be easy. There will be no binge watching Netflix, and don’t plan on buying any books to read during your debt plan time frame.
But, remember, this is not forever, and you can do it! Just keep yourself wanting it, and you will stay motivated to finish.
Find Side Jobs Resources:
I hope at some point while reading this, you came to the realization that you can’t stay where you are right now, unless you don’t want your future goals being effected.
You have to make a change.
Now that you have all the tools at your fingertips to make a better budget, saving money tips, and earning more money, you have no excuse to not hit that debt!
Where are you in your journey to debt free? I’d love to hear about it!