The United States is in debt. A whole lot of it.
As of November 2019, the national debt stands at over $23 trillion. That’s as much as if everyone in the United States owed $70,000 in debt. So it’s easy to see why so many people are struggling with debt and looking for a way to get out of it as quickly as possible.
Whether your credit card declines at the grocery store, you become sick of living paycheck to paycheck or you just wake up and decide that enough is enough – everyone gets to a point when they decide their done and don’t want any more debt.
But being ready to get out of debt is easy, actually getting out of debt takes some work, and these steps will help you pay off your debt faster.
👉Stop adding to your debt
I know it sounds obvious but it still has to be said.
If you want to get out of the hole then you need to put down the shovel.
There’s no way that you will be able to get out of debt if you continuously use your credit cards and rack it up again. It doesn’t matter if you are paying it off every single month.
Those dollars spent to repay new debt could have been used to cover your old debt.
👉Automate minimum payments
Even if you aren’t aggressively working on paying down your debt, you should always pay at least the minimum.
Don’t spend time wondering if you’ve made the minimum payments already. Automate your payments to ensure you protect your credit and free your mind up for more positive thinking.
👉Always make extra payments
Every extra payment you make above the minimum gets applied to the principal bringing down the amount of your debt, lowering how much you’ll pay back in interest over the course of the loan.
👉Improve your debt terms (refi/consolidate)
Improving the terms of your loan is a fast way to lower your debt because the less you pay in interest over the course of the loan the more money that is available for you to pay extra on your debt and get it done faster.
👉Track your progress regularly
What gets measured, gets done.
That means regular tracking and reporting on your debt will keep you focused on the goal through to the end. Not to mention that it keeps you motivated as you see the progress.
The information you gather can help improve the speed at which you pay down your debt – you will keep doing the things that work, and stop doing the activities that don’t work (or causes you to spend).
👉 Use the debt snowball method
You might have heard of the debt snowball method or the avalanche method to pay down your debt. There is even some debate about which is faster.
So here is the truth on the avalanche vs the snowball method, both methods work. It just depends on what keeps you motivated to make the payments. Most people need to see progress …. results … so they can stay the course.
If the debt is too large or takes too long then you feel like giving up. The snowball method works great for folks that need to see that small debts are getting paid off. The avalanche method is great for folks that want to pay as little in interest as possible over the course of the loan.
My opinion? Any method works because each method works.
Just pick one and get started.
You can switch later, modify or make your own version if you like. Just do something.
👉Have a reward for your progress
Giving yourself mini rewards helps you to feel the benefits of all the hard work you are putting in paying down your debt.
You’ll never stay the course and finish the debt payoff if you get no enjoyment while you do it. You’ll hit frugal fatigue and give up.
Using windfalls like unexpected bonuses, tax returns, or refunds to jumpstart your debt paydown means faster payoff with less impact on your everyday finances.
Make a spending decision where some portion of any unexpected money is put towards your debt.