How to Jumpstart Your Debt Payoff Plan

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debt payoff plan

When you’re in the middle of paying off debt, and you feel like it’s going nowhere fast, sometimes it’s necessary to take more extreme measures to jumpstart your debt payoff plan.  We’ve had to make adjustments several times as we’ve worked to get our debt paid off and our debt-to-income ratio down, each time, taking measures that we previously thought were unnecessary or too extreme.  Here are some measures that might help you to push your debt out the window faster.

Jumpstart Your Debt Payoff Plan by Rethinking Your Expenses


The answer to jumpstarting your debt payoff plan may be to ask yourself if you have overlooked some expenses in your budget that really aren’t necessities.  Some ideas might be: your cable TV or cell phone plan, charitable giving, or lunch out every Friday with your co-workers.  Maybe it’s time to cut the kids’ allowances or reduce the amount you spend on birthdays or other gifts.  Scrutinize your budget with an objective eye, scouring it for any item that can fuel your debt payoff plan.

Remember too, that often times there can be acceptable replacements for this things.  For instance, that Friday lunch out with co-workers?  Suggest a potluck at the office or brown-bagging it at a nearby outdoor location, such as a park.  Instead of cable, sign up for Netflix.  Instead of paying the kids allowance for their work, suggest a fun activity to do each week until your finances get back on track.

Find Cheaper Housing


If your house payment is seriously hindering your debt payoff efforts, maybe it’s time to sell it or rent it out and find cheaper housing.  Although this might not be an ideal situation, reducing your house payment might work well for your family for a short period of time so that you can pay off debt more quickly.

Another option would be to rent out a room in your house.  Friends of ours who were working toward debt freedom years ago rented one of their bedrooms out to a college kid, and it worked out great.  They were bringing in a few extra hundred dollars a month and the college student had a nice, safe, cheap place to live.  This slick move helped our friends to reach debt freedom quite early in their life, and from there they moved onto the wealth-building leg of their journey.

Work Harder at Making More Money


If you’re not making the headway you want in paying off your debt, maybe it’s time to sell that boat/car/fur coat or whatever it is that you have sitting around.  Be careful what you part with, as you can’t get it back, but also try to be objective.  You might not want to sell grandma’s heirloom ring, but if you can’t take your boat out anyway, due to limited funds and time, why leave it sitting around, collecting dust, when it can be a way for you to achieve debt freedom much earlier?

If you’re finding yourself with lots of free time, maybe it’s time to pick up a second job, or get more side hustle income.  I know these things can be overwhelming thoughts, especially when the road to debt freedom can be so stressful anyway, but remind yourself that the second job is only temporary, and that you can get a different boat/car/fur coat or whatever once you are debt free and your cash flow is more liquid.

If you’re finding that your debt payoff plan isn’t working nearly as fast as you’d like it to, consider stepping it up a notch, and finding ways like those listed above to jumpstart your debt payoff plan toward a quicker finish.


What ways can you think of that can help jumpstart a debt payoff plan? How have you found creative ways to cut expenses and fuel your debt payoff efforts? What do you do to stay motivated on your debt payoff journey?



Photo courtesy of: Kyle Johnson


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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.


  • Housing is one of, if not the largest, cost of living expense. We looked at downsizing when we entered our debt management plan….but I just felt like that was our “last stand” that we wouldn’t retreat from. I told Vonnie that I would do anything to keep us from having to sell our house. We made it through, and our fortress stood. 🙂

    • You guys did such a great job, Travis, of doing what needed to be done to get where you wanted to go. And you knew that selling your house really was a last resort option for you, so you worked hard to make sure you wouldn’t have to do that. That’s awesome! Great work, my friend. 🙂

  • Finding cheaper housing or even renting out some of your space, is by far one of the easiest ways to free up some more cash.

    • I totally agree, Stefanie, especially if you’re in a rental situation. And I don’t know of one person who has moved to cheaper housing in order to complete a debt payoff that said “I wish I would’ve stayed in the expensive place”.

  • These are great ideas Laurie. We started to walk and bike to work to save money. We were taking public transit before but because of delays etc it actually took the same time to bike as it did to take public transit. We were also able to cut our gym memberships too since we were getting plenty of exercise each day.

  • Yeah when people look for houses their real estate agent and mortgage lender tell people they can afford houses that aren’t really affordable! Their compensation is tied to to cost of the house and size of the mortgage. Makes you wonder how so many people got in a mess just a few years back.

  • We jumpstarted our savings the past couple years by renting out the extra space in our basement that we didn’t use and working harder to make more money. It’s worked out really well for us and those debt payments are becoming much easier to handle than before.

  • I agree that housing is huge. Unfortunately, it costs a lot to sell your home and move. It’s a huge sacrifice, but could be worth it in the long run!

    • Yeah, owning is a lot different than renting, that’s for sure, which is why it might be cheaper to rent your house out and live in a different one rather than sell. Then you can avoid costly realtor fees and maybe move back in when things are financially better.

  • Lauren says:

    I love the rethink your expenses tip- it’s a great place to start! Cutting back on the expenses that you can control, like cable, cell phone plan, and even food is an easy way to begin making changes that can stick.

  • I’m with Lauren, I think rethinking your expenses tip is a great one. It is often the easiest one which for some reason people overlook. Call up the cable company and cancel it and go over other expenses that aren’t necessary and try to eliminate it or cut it. I definitely saved a lot of money when I brought food from home rather than eating out at lunch everyday!

  • Derek at MoneyAhoy says:

    Housing is the big one that we are looking to change in 2014. I think we can downsize, move from a 15 year to a 30 year mortgage, and invest the difference of ~$1,000 a month into stocks/bonds.

  • E.M. says:

    My parents actually took the sell the house route, but only because it became necessary and the timing was right. They were struggling to afford just about everything, and there was no light at the end of the debt tunnel. With the sale, they were able to buy their current home outright and still have thousands leftover, which they put toward debt and an emergency fund (they barely had one). For some reason, they’re not willing to budge on the expenses, but I’m glad they’re making progress.

  • I cutback on my expenses such as eating out, groceries, car insurance and cell phone bill. I’ve been able to save over $800 per month just by doing that.

  • There are always creative ways to earn extra money. I rented out my garage to people who needed more storage, and did some side volleyball coaching. It’s fun to sit and brainstorm the ways to cut back and earn more.

  • David says:

    I agree with you on basically every point you mentioned as well as most of the above comments. When you mentioned cutting the phone plan as well as the cable plan for a debt payoff plan, I immediately remembered that my rates both for my phone plan and my cable raised this past month, and I am very much considering lowering my use by almost 50%.
    Thanks for the great advice.
    Keep it up!

  • I came for the Integra. 🙂

    And I agree on the cheaper housing thing. Read my linked post below. Man, that seems spammy of me. Eh, well.

    On a side note: I know someone wanting $700 for a room in his ‘upscale’ house in Lincoln, NE. Get real, bro.. Hope no one goes for that.

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