Many of our members want to know how they can reduce their debt quickly. Unfortunately, accruing the debt is usually the quick part. Paying it all back (plus interest) takes a bit longer. Still, there are ways to speed up the pace of debt payback and being able to see that number go down quickly each month is a great motivator! Here are five quick debt-reducing money tips to kick start your journey to becoming debt-free.
Tip #1: Cut out unnecessary expenses. Most people assume they don’t have unnecessary expenses. And it’s possible you don’t. Still, this step is really all about taking an honest look at where you put your money. In fact, this step alone should alter the way you shop and spend. For example, you might find that you’re spending a lot of money eating out and still spending hundreds at the grocery store. Or maybe your spending too much on monthly streaming services, but no one in your house is using them. A great way to see where all your money is going is by tracking it with Online Banking and reviewing your statements to follow that dollar!
Tip #2: Create a budget. Any money-saving advice is going to tell you to start a budget. Just remember that budget-living doesn’t have to mean pasta for dinner every night. You can cater your budget to what you’re comfortable with. It all starts with taking the first step and setting sustainable monthly limits on things like groceries, toiletries, clothing, and going out. Don’t know where to start on creating a budget? Check out our blog, “5 Easy Steps to Building a Better Budget”.
Tip #3: Be creative with your hobbies and pastimes. Hobbies and pastimes are fine to have, but while you’re paying off debt, consider getting some cheaper ones. Love going to the casino? Start a card night with friends and play for quarters. Enjoy going to the movies? Rent a movie instead, dim the lights, and make popcorn at home. Try picking new things that could contribute to helping reach your goals even further like, coupon-cutting, teaching your kids how to cook at home, or if you have the time maybe picking up a part-time job.
Tip #4: Credit Cards: Try a balance transfer. Balance transfers take debt from a high interest credit card and transfer it to a lower interest rate card. The credit union has a credit card to fit every situation and right bow you will receive an introductory rate of 3.99% APR on all balance transfers. 1st Financial Visa Credit Cards have no annual fees, no balance transfer fees, 24/7-member service, zero liability fraud protection, and no over-the-limit fees. It’s a win-win and a for sure way to save some money while paying off your debt.
Tip #5: Start selling – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you’re not using something like a large appliance, workout equipment, clothes, or a piece of technology, try selling it. Online sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Poshmark, can help you sell things in your local area or even across the country for little to no extra cost. Just because you don’t use it anymore doesn’t mean someone else can’t.
Paying off debt may require you to make a few lifestyle changes, but it doesn’t have to be depressing. If you have a difficult time adjusting to new circumstances, implement gradual changes so the process won’t become too overwhelming. This is a work at your own pace process, but as long as you are contributing to your overall debt, you are paying it down and becoming more financially stable.