Debt can be a real weight on your shoulders.
Even though some debts are worse than others (think high-interest, low-reward credit card debt), knowing some of your hard-earned money will go toward digging yourself out of a hole rather than building a brand-new metaphorical tower can be discouraging.
That’s not to say that you can’t dig out.
Take, for instance, the couple who set aside half their income to pay off their mortgage in five years, or the woman who paid off $42,000 of student loans and launched her own business in only four years. Consider the Texas couple who tracked their spending to pay off $32,000 of debt or the teachers who eliminated $92,000 of debt in less than three years.
From their stories, we can learn a lot about how to make a significant dent in your debt. Below, we’ve highlighted 10 of the recurring debt-repayment tips and strategies we’ve learned from people who are no longer in the red.
Go online, call your bank, sort your mail, and figure out exactly how much money you need to pay back.
A repayment strategy championed by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey is the 'snowball method,' where you pay off your smallest debt first, then use the mental boost to tackle the next biggest, and so on.
Alternatively, you can prioritise the most expensive debt -- the one with the highest interest rate -- to ultimately pay less over the life of your loans. After the first one is gone, move on to the next highest interest rate.
If you don't know how much money you have coming in and out, you'll never be able to figure out how much cash is available to devote to your debt.
Spending more than you earn is how many people get into debt in the first place. To have spare cash for your payments, you'll need to bring in more than you let out.
If you hold multiple debts, you're going to need to make at least minimum payments on all of them, and extra payments on the ones you want to eliminate first.
Whether you're making the minimum payment or regularly devoting a little extra, go online or give your bank a call and set up a regular automatic payment towards your debt. This way, you'll never forget, and parting with the money won't be so hard.
Find money to devote to your debt by reducing the prices of monthly costs like your cable, utilities, gas, and groceries. Often, a little extra planning or a quick, polite phone call can knock a few bucks off your bill.
Some of the money going toward vacations, movie tickets, new clothes, and restaurant visits might feel more satisfying paying some of your debt.
If you get a holiday bonus, a tax refund, an inheritance, or any other unexpected money, put it straight toward your debt.