If your debt has gotten out of control, you’re not alone—the average Canadian is shouldering over $17,000 in debt, not including mortgages. That may seem like a lot, but you can make a big dent in your debt by making debt elimination a priority.
Here are 15 ways to start eliminating debt today:
1) Make a budget and stick to it. This will help you see where your money is going each month while helping you cut back on expenses and allocate funds towards debt reduction.
2) Get rid of your credit cards. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) close your accounts, but cutting up or at least hiding your credit cards can help eliminate the temptation for adding to your debt.
3) Make a plan. A wise man once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Make a solid debt reduction plan with deadlines. Post it where you can see it.
4) Put spare change towards debt reduction. Dust off your piggy bank and start depositing spare change and dollar bills. At the end of each month, deposit it at the bank and use the money to pay down your credit cards.
5) Sell things around the house. Put the proceeds towards your debt.
6) Put gifts and windfalls towards debt reduction. Birthday and Christmas gifts, tax refunds, bonuses, and other windfalls are easy ways to put a chunk in your debt reduction almost overnight.
7) Get a second job. If you’re really serious about debt reduction, consider a part-time or weekend job. It doesn’t have to be permanent, and even working just a few hours a week can help you pay off debt quickly.
8) Pay more than the minimum amount each month. Pay as much as you can possibly afford to pay towards debt each month.
9) See how much you can slash your grocery bill. Shop sales and coupons and eliminate eating out, then put the savings towards your debt.
10) Negotiate. Contact your creditors to try and work out lower interest rates.
11) Focus on one debt at a time. Whether it’s your highest interest debt or your highest balance, this will help you focus your efforts and see faster results.
12) Look for creative ways to save money. Making gifts instead of buying them, using exercise DVDs instead of paying for a gym membership, and carpooling to save on gas are a few easy ways to save money that can be used towards debt.
13) Don’t open up new lines of credit. As tempting as it may be to save 15% on your purchase by opening up a store credit card, don’t do it.
14) Budget for debt reduction. Make it a priority and budget for it.
15) Get professional help if needed. Sometimes, even the best efforts aren’t enough if your debt is out of control. Don’t wait to seek help if your debt is so substantial you can’t possibly tackle it on your own. A licensed insolvency trustee can help you determine the best route.
Do you have tips for debt elimination? We’d love to hear them! Share in the comments below.