Sometimes when you look for ways to start paying off debt, the journey seems too overwhelming to start. However, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. By taking one simple step you begin to build confidence to continue, and before you know it you have serious momentum.
It’s easy to delay attacking debt because you feel like you will not experience victory. Worse yet, you don’t know where to start. Like any other significant hurdle, the most important step is to start. It may feel impossible to kill burdensome debt.
That’s not the case. With the right attitude and commitment it’s possible to pay off debt for good and achieve financial freedom.
Simple Ways to Start Paying off Debt Right Now
Paying off debt often requires a combination of efforts to accomplish, especially if you have a considerable amount of debt. Don’t let that stop you. Work to find what provides the largest impact to the debt to ensure success.
Each of the below opportunities may not work for you, or provide a smaller return. Find five or six of the below ways to pay off debt to increase probability of success. Before you know it you will have the momentum you need to kill your debt for good.
1. Consolidate your debt. The less money you pay in interest each month, the more money you can put toward debt each month. You can do this by taking out an unsecured personal loan to slash your rates and have only one bill to deal with each month.
Some providers, allow you to cut rates by half, or more, allowing you to save money on interest payments. The best plan of attack is to compare multiple lenders at once to find the best fit.
Fiona by Even Financial lets you compare up to 17 lenders to find the best personal loan for your needs.
It takes less than a minute to fill out the application, and within a few minutes they provide potential matches.
2. Start a side hustle. Making extra money is often the best way to start paying off debt. If you’re on a tight income, or need additional funds to kill debt, a side hustle is an excellent choice. There are many ways to make extra money to pay off debt so it’s important to find an opportunity that works for you.
One terrific choice is to deliver meals with DoorDash. The app lets you deliver meals, and requires no specialized experience. You can deliver meals with a car or bike, and can start as young as 18. DoorDash pays you to deliver food, plus you have the opportunity to earn tips.
DoorDash allows you to create your own schedule, so you can work when it’s best for your schedule. You can read our guide on best delivery app gigs to learn more about additional requirements and opportunities.
3. Transfer your credit card balance to a 0% APR card. Like #1 above, using a balance transfer credit card is an excellent way to start killing your debt. Most balance transfer cards offer a period of 0% interest for 12 – 18 months.
Find one that works for you and keep your payments the same to slash your debt. Click here to find the top cards to help you pay off debt faster.
4. Finally cut the cord. Are you still paying for cable? If so, cutting the cord is one of the easiest ways to claw back money to throw towards debt. You can drop your contract and pick one of the best TV streaming services to slash your bill. Or trade it in altogether for Netflix or an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Check out the Amazon Fire TV channels list to see what kind of content you can expect with the device.
5. Reduce housing costs by downsizing, or getting a roommate or renter. Consider selling your house for a less expensive one, refinancing your mortgage if the rate is high or getting a roommate or renter. If you currently rent, look for a cheaper apartment.
You can use the savings to pay off debt quicker. Yes, this requires a lifestyle change, but debt freedom is better! If you own, compare rates at LendingTree to find the lowest rate possible.
6. Get a cheaper cell phone plan. How much are you spending on your monthly cell phone service? There are countless cheap cell phone plans available in the space that offer awesome savings.
Our favorite option is Tello. You can receive service for under $20 per month. The provider operates on the Sprint network, so there’s little difference in quality versus a legacy carrier.
7. Make money in your free time. Do you like the idea of making money on the side to pay off debt but don’t have time to start a side hustle? One option is to take paid surveys during your free time.
*Related: Looking for ways to make money for a delivery service? Read our DoorDash driver review to learn how you can make $20+ per hour delivering meals.*
You won’t become wealthy with surveys, but they’re easy to take and provide extra cash to throw at your debt. Here are some of the best paid survey sites to make money in your spare time:
Survey Junkie: This is our favorite survey site since they pay you cash straight to PayPal, and you can redeem once you hit $10.
Pinecone Research: This site pays $3 per survey and you can choose Amazon Gift Cards or virtual Mastercards for your payment. However, if you’ve joined Pinecone in the last 30 days, your first redemption must be by bank transfer to verify your rewards account. They also pay to do product testing.
InboxDollars: Earn money for taking surveys, watching TV, or making purchases online. Get $5 just for signing up.
8. Cancel unused subscriptions. There’s no sense to have a lot of memberships or subscriptions when paying off debt. It’s best to cancel them and use the savings to pay off debt.
You can use Trim, a free tool that analyzes all subscriptions and memberships to find ones you don’t use. Once the service locates services you don’t use, they ask if you want to continue to pay for it.
Assuming you don’t want to, Trim cancels the memberships and you bank the savings. Trim can even negotiate bills for you to save more money.
The Trim app is free to use and they keep 33 percent of any savings you realize. Check out our Trim review to learn more about the app.
9. Sell something. Most of us have houses, garages, and storage areas filled with things we were sure we’d love forever, but haven’t looked at in months or years. Use a discerning eye and look through your stuff to determine what you can sell. Take the earnings and throw it at your debt.
You can use a Facebook local group, or sell the items online through BuyBackWorld. The service buys a variety of things, including:
- Old cell phones
- Gaming systems
- GPS systems
- Mobile devices
Selling unused items won’t create a constant influx of cash, but it’s a terrific way to raise cash to make a good one-time payment towards your debt.
10. Shop around for lower insurance rates. Do some comparison shopping on car and homeowners insurance rates. You may be surprised at how much you can save and put towards debt.
*Related: Need to rebuild your credit? Check out our guide on credit builder loans to see if they’re a viable alternative.*
Studies show nearly 40 percent of drivers, for example, have not compared rates in over three years. If you’re a part of that group you could be overlooking savings.
Esurance is one excellent option. The average driver saves over $350 per year when they switch. That’s money you can use to pay towards your debt each month.
11. Learn how to grocery shop wisely. How much do you spend on groceries each month? It’s likely you can cut some spending to create funds to apply towards your debt. A menu plan is the best place to start and find ways to help you save money on groceries.
If you don’t know where to start with menu planning, check out $5 Meal Plan. They provide you with sample meal plans with tasty recipes that will help you save at the grocery store.
12. Check into an off-peak energy usage plan. Many energy companies offer significant discounts for people who use the majority of their energy during set off-peak hours. Contact your energy company and see if their off-peak plan fits your lifestyle.
If that’s not an option, or even if it is, you can buy a programmable thermostat, here are the best ones on Amazon, to help regulate your energy usage. This is one of the best ways to save money each month as it requires little from you. You make the change and apply the savings to your debt.
13. Start a change jar. Set a jar in your kitchen to collect all of your loose coins at the end of the day. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll have accumulated a decent amount of money to pay off debt.
To give your goal extra “oomph”, put $1 or $5 bills in the jar to accelerate your efforts.
14. Re-work your budget. Or get a budget if you don’t already have one. Look at your budget line-by-line and consider dropping anything that isn’t a necessity.
It’s not as difficult as it may seem to live on a budget. If you’re need to start paying off debt, it’s one of the first tasks to tackle. Read our guide on how to make a budget to learn where to start.
15. Start using the envelope system. There’s something about paying in cash that makes the reality of how hard you worked for your money set in.
Use this to your advantage to help you cut spending. The envelope system does require some work if you don’t typically pay with cash, but it’s well worth the effort if you need to pay off debt.
16. Sell your car and get a cheaper one. How much is your car payment each month? The average car payment is over $500 per month.
If you’re anywhere near that amount, you need to find a way to slash that payment and apply the savings at your debt. You may not look like you’re driving in style, but being debt free is considerably better.
17. Reduce transportation costs. See if there’s a way you can bike or walk to work, carpool or use public transportation in order to save on auto expenses.
18. Bring a bag lunch to work. The $10 lunch everyday may be fun, but is it worth staying in debt to enjoy? Find some great recipes online and start bringing your lunch to work.
19. Reduce food costs by cutting out the junk food purchases. Stop buying the chips and other processed food that can take a huge chunk out of your grocery budget. Start researching healthier, more frugal snack and meal options.
20. Learn to do appearance maintenance stuff like manicures, pedicures, and haircuts at home. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by skipping the salon and learning to do appearance maintenance at home.
If that’s not an option, cut down on the number of times you go to the salon or find a cheaper salon. Read our guide on the best places to get a cheap haircuts near me to discover where you can go to save money.
21. Stop eating out. Have a great menu plan in place so you’re not tempted to stop and eat out. If time is a factor, spend Sundays making and freezing meals to use throughout the week.
22. Commit to putting all extra/unexpected money toward debt. Any tax refunds, overtime pay, bonuses, or other money that you didn’t expect to have goes directly toward debt.
If you plan to use a tax refund, read our guide on where’s my tax refund to learn when you should expect your funds.
23. Trade in costly entertainment choices for free ones. Skip the movie theater and have a movie night with air-popped popcorn at home. You can even use the best places to watch free movies online and not pay a dime.
Trade in the professional sports games for a nice hike in the woods. Make a list of free entertainment to keep yourself busy at little or no cost.
24. Learn to do home repair/maintenance items yourself. Use online resources to avoid having to pay a repair or maintenance company when possible and fix things yourself instead. These are skills that, once learned, you can use to make money too.
25. Stop buying coffee shop coffee and make it at home. My husband drinks at least two cups of coffee a day, nearly ever day, but it only costs us about $20 a month. How?
We save money on coffee by purchasing bulk coffee beans, grinding them at home, and adding in a store-bought creamer for that sweet touch.
Many want to pay off debt, but believe it’s impossible. Please don’t give into that lie! With a little sacrifice and work it is possible to pay off debt for good.
Look for savings opportunities and earn extra income to make progress. You may be tempted to give up along the way. That’s a natural feeling. It’s also common to feel like you can’t live life while paying off debt. Yes, sacrifice is typically necessary, but you have to ask yourself if the nice things are worth enslavement to debt.
It never is worth it. As you pursue debt freedom, you learn what you want in life to have real joy in life. Make having those items a motivation to kill debt for good. It’ll make financial freedom that much more rewarding.
What tools do you use to pay off debt faster? What would be the first thing you’ll do when you’re debt free? How are you going to achieve debt freedom this year?