So many of us are saddled by debt, and it’s hard to feel free in this state of being. Sleepless nights and stressful days are pretty much a given for those experiencing this.
Whether you’re paying the minimum on your credit cards each month or you’re at the point where creditors have you on speed dial, being in debt is undeniably the worst.
Declaring bankruptcy is always an option but not a pleasant one, as it’s a lengthy, stressful process in and of itself, and your credit is ruined…at least for a while. There are other, more unique ways to help decrease your debt, and we’ve shared seven of them below.
1. Get Laser-Focused on One Debt
If you’ve got debt on several credit cards, it can be tempting to try and pay off a bit on each every month, especially if you’ve gotten some sort of work bonus. Instead, focus on just one of these cards. Pick the one with the highest APR and chip away at that until that balance is down to zero.
2. Pick Up a Side Hustle
Working 9 to 5 can be hard enough, and we can appreciate that. However, if you’re stressing out every day due to mounting debt, that can be even worse. And these days, side hustles abound. From driving for Lyft or Uber and selling services on an app like Fiverr to starting your own blog and then monetizing it and delivering food, the possibilities to make money online are seemingly endless. You don’t have to do this forever, so just tell yourself there is a light at the end of the debt-free tunnel.
3. Negotiate a Lower Interest Rate on Your Credit Cards
Higher interest rates are really what get us when it comes to credit card debt, and many people don’t realize that these have wiggle room for negotiation. All you have to do is call the credit card companies and ask. If you are in good standing, they will typically honor these requests. Or, as this article by the balance notes, “If you use a balance transfer to get a lower rate, try to pay off the high balance before the promotional rate expires. After that, your balance will be subject to the higher interest rate.” It might not sound like it will make a huge difference but, trust us, it will.
4. Settle With Creditors
This is similar to #3 but, instead of asking for lower interest rates, this time you’re going for the whole shebang. Ask your creditors to lower your balance in exchange for paying it off in one lump sum. If creditors think the debt might never get paid otherwise, they will often consider this a win/win and accept your offer.
5. Ask for Help
This isn’t reinventing the wheel, per se, and it isn’t an option for everyone, but if you’ve got family or friends you think are willing to help, it might be time to humble yourself and ask. You’d rather get out of debt on your own and we understand that but, instead of letting the debt get even more out of control, you can approach them with a plan. Whether it’s asking them to help you pay off your debt, pay off some of your debt, or allow you to move in with them for a certain amount of time (putting an end date on this can help!), you might be surprised to how open they are to helping you.
6. Consider Using Public Transportation
With the price of gas these days being sky high in most areas of the country, imagine how much money you’d save if you left your car in the driveway each day. If you’re in a career that allows for this, you can also try and find remote work so you have no commute at all. And if you want to really knock out your debt, commit to this by selling your car altogether. Navigating public transportation might be an adjustment at first, but the zero balance goal is well worth it.
7. Sweat the Small Stuff
This is counterintuitive to what you’ve heard, but when it comes to finances and mounting debt, it’s time to pay attention to every penny…at least for the foreseeable future. Make your own coffee. Use digital and paper coupons. Don’t go out to eat. Go through all of your subscriptions and get rid of any that aren’t absolutely essential (sorry, Spotify). Sometimes a simple tweak in your daily habits can make all the difference. You can gradually reintroduce these “splurges” once your debt has been paid off.
When it comes to getting rid of your debt, you sometimes have to think outside the box. Try any or all of these tips and watch your debt get down to zero in no time.