Debt is the reality for most of us. According to the 2017 Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Study, nearly half of Americans are carrying at least $25,000 in debt (excluding their mortgage). 1 in 10 has more than $100,000 in debt. And a third of people expect to be in debt for at least six more years.
If you’re shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month in interest payments, you’re not stuck. We’ll help you figure out how to get out of debt. It just takes patience and a few simple steps.
Write down all the debts you have. Include the amount you owe, the minimum payment and the interest rate you’re paying. It might feel overwhelming to see the tally, but remember that others have tackled large debts. You’ve got this.
While you always need to make the minimum payment, prioritize making extra payments on the debts with the highest interest rates first. The sooner you pay those debts down, the less you’ll throw away to interest each month.
FIND EXTRA MONEY TO PUT TOWARD YOUR DEBT
Sure, paying down debt is likely not going to be a period in your life filled with Instagram-worthy Hawaiian trips or fun shopping sprees — but you don’t need those things to enjoy your life. Take a hard look at how you’re spending money. Often, people find that a fair amount of their monthly budget goes to things that aren’t really important to them. Find that money and don’t give up all the things you love.
You could also take on a side hustle. Driving for a ride sharing service is a quick and easy way to make some extra cash. But you could use this as an opportunity to follow a passion. Always wanted to take up photography? Have you been dreaming of starting a blog? These could be opportunities to learn something new and put your knowledge to work for some extra cash.
MAKE IT FUN
Some couples have made a game out of getting out of debt. They find that it makes it easier and actually makes it fun. This will be a journey, so do what you need to make sure that you continue to make progress. And — most importantly — don’t be afraid to celebrate along the way.
LOWER YOUR RATES
You switch cable companies if a competitor is offering a deal, so why not refinance your debt at a lower rate? This is key as you think about how to get out of debt. If you have good credit, you might be able to qualify for a personal loan, consolidation loan, or to refinance your student loans.
If you have credit card debt, consider transferring your balance onto a new card with a 0% introductory rate and no balance transfer fees. There’s no need to pay more than necessary in interest on your debt while paying it off.
You switch cable companies if their competitor is offering a deal, so why not refinance your debt?