A man who paid off $24,000 of debt in 9 months says one of the most obvious strategies is also the most effective

Will parkerCourtesy of Will ParkerWill Parker paid off $24,000 of debt in 9 months.

Will Parker needed just nine months to dig his way out of $24,000 of debt.

It all started with one, easy step: He set aside $1,000, in case of an emergency or unexpected big cost arose. With the buffer, he wouldn’t have to go into more debt to cover anything that might crop up.

However, what fast-tracked his path to becoming debt-free was a strategy people tend to overlook: He started earning more money.

“If you have a big hole, you need a big shovel,” Parker tells Business Insider. “If you have a small shovel, it’s going to take forever to fill that hole.”

There are two ways to get a bigger shovel: Get a raise or find an additional stream of income.

Parker did both.

Conveniently, around the same time he got serious about paying down his debt, he got a raise, but the timing is beside the point: “If you work your butt off, you get paid more money,” he says.

Additionally, Parker found ways to earn more. As he told Simple, “I did whatever I could to get extra money. I do a little website design on the side. It’s an easy way to make some extra money.”

Before you stress about repaying your debt, don’t overlook the obvious. “One way to take care of your debt is to focus on the things you can control,” Parker emphasises. That could mean negotiating a raise, starting a side hustle, pursuing a side job, or simply making a few lifestyle changes.

“Figure out every possible way you can get a bigger shovel,” he advises. “You’ll fill that hole much faster.”

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