6 Creative Tips For Starting Down A Debt Free Path

Tue 10 January 2017

If you're reading this than I'm going to assume you are facing some sort of debt problems in your own life. I hope it's minor for you, but regardless of the size the goal for snabblÄn everyone is really the same; to become debt free.

So, here are a few creative tips that may or may not help you directly, but hopefully they will at-least give you some ideas and inspiration for evaluating your own financial picture and ultimately, changing it for the better.

  1. Stop spending

When battling your serious debt problem, you really must watch every penny that leaves your hand, and only allow them to go when you really need the item. We take a lot of things for granted now, for example having 500+ channels of entertainment at our fingertips. But ask yourself, do you really need that? How many hours per week do you have to spend in front of the television?

Could you switch your entertainment time over to online streaming options? My monthly cable bill is over $100, but I only pay about $8 per month for Netflix, and I spend more time watching Netflix than I do cable. So there's an easy $100 savings for me if I needed it, and if you're reading this that might be an option to examine for yourself. There are other things beyond just entertainment to look at here, that's just a broad example to illustrate the approach.

  1. Find A Favorable Position And Get There

Typically, someone with a serious debt problem is facing numerous combined debts rather than a single overwhelming debt. Even though you may look at your mortgage as the "big one", for many people it's actually not any single debt that's crushing their budget, but rather the combined effects of numerous debts.

A good step to take is to sit down and review all of your current debts, and actually sort them into groups based on interest rates, from highest to lowest, and then sort the individual debts within the groups you've created by total outstanding balance, from lowest to highest.

The point to this is to find your lowest total balance debts that have the highest interest rates attached to them, and then figure out how to pay those off first, or at-least as fast as possible.

Since they have the lowest balances, paying them off completely will be more manageable than trying to pay off higher debts right away, and by paying off the debts with the higher interest rates as soon as possible you'll actually be stretching your dollars a lot further in the long haul.

  1. Earn More Money

Yes, these are very tough times and there are a lot of people out of work right now, and still there are opportunities for most people to earn extra cash in a variety of ways and places.

From picking up a single weekend shift at a restaurant or club, to providing some sort of work or service online as a freelancer (there are lots of places for freelancers to find small, medium and large size projects available online).

You may have to take a hit in what you normally earn per hour at your regular job, but if you will work and hustle most people can find some way to earn extra cash to put towards their bills.

I know of one lady who provides transcription services to online marketers, turning their audio and video recordings into text-based PDF files. They email her the recordings, and she listens to them and types what is said. It's easy work, she tells me there's plenty of it, but it doesn't pay very well. She has figured out her earnings to be about $2 per hour.

That's not great money, but for someone looking for a way to add an extra few dollars to their bank account each week without having to leave the home, or after exhausting other job opportunities in their area, this sort of work is an option and even with lower pay rates can be a big help in your overall financial picture.

Just an extra $20 per week that you apply to your monthly bill payments can help to quickly pay down (or off) some of your smaller debts with the highest interest rates.

Only paying minimum payments means you're paying the maximum amount possible on your debt over time. By just adding a few dollars above the minimum required amount to your payments you will be making a substantial difference in your financial position.

The point is, find the most favorable (and manageable) position for yourself, and then make a plan for getting yourself there.

  1. Avoid Payday and Advance Loans Against Your Earnings

While these may seem like a lifesaver coming at you when you're flat-broke a few days before your paycheck comes in, the reality is they almost always cost way more than they're worth in the end, and often suck people into an endless cycle of borrowing and paying-off these small loans week after week. Borrow from family or friends. Sell something. Go without. I personally would rather spend several days living on bread and water than take out one of those payday loans.

  1. Get Rid Of Your Car

Sounds crazy, right? But we've quickly forgotten that for a majority of people owning a car is a luxury and not a necessity. With a car comes a car payment, insurance, fuel costs, maintenance... it's expensive to own a vehicle, because it's a luxury item.

For anyone who lives within walking (or bicycling) distance from their work and a food store, owning a car is probably not a true necessity, and if getting rid of your car could make the difference between keeping your home or not, or eating today or not, get rid of it. It's a financial anchor pulling you further down.

  1. Hang Up The Phone

Most people today have a cell phone, and almost every home has a land-line phone in it. I wouldn't dare ask anyone to give up their cell phones, they've almost become new appendages to the human ear, but ask yourself if you really still need that land-line?

I know the only time my home phone rings it's either a sales-person, a political robocall, or my mother who hates the way my voice sounds on my cell, so insists on calling my home phone when she wants to talk.

I don't need to hear from sales people, and I don't need those robocalls, so the only reason I keep the land-line phone now is for my mother's pleasure, and if I were facing a serious debt problem I'm sure she would understand having to call my cell to reach me.

So ask yourself, do you really still need that land-line phone? Does it still serve a real purpose in your life other than giving telemarketers a way to annoy you? If not, dump it because every penny counts when you're facing a serious debt problem. I know some of my points here may seem small, shallow, or even laughable to some readers.

However, my real point is that climbing out of debt has to be viewed as a process. There is no easy button or magic pill for it. It's going to require a lot of steps, a bit of financial juggling, and some creative thinking in most cases.

If you're facing a serious debt problem right now, don't look at these points as some step-by-step action plan, see them as inspiration when looking at your own situation for coming up with creative ways to save money and for getting the most value from the money you do spend on your debts.

By Jerrell Hodson, Category: misc