If you are struggling to repay credit card, student loan or any other type of debt, then these tips will hopefully help you to pay back the money you owe a little sooner. These are the points that I kept in mind and how I was able to repay £3,000 in twelve months.
Every person’s situation is different, but there are certain rules and mindsets that if you take on, you will find it much easier to pay back the money you owe in full in a shorter space of time.
9 Ways to Pay Off Debt Fast in 2020
START WITH THE SMALLEST REPAYMENT
I am sure you have heard of the Debt Snowball from Dave Ramsey. If not, let me explain: write down a list of all the money you owe, with the smallest number at the top of the list, and the largest number at the bottom.
Now you can focus on paying off the smallest loan in full, and move onto the next item on the list, once the first is paid off. This makes it so much easier to clear off your debts that it would be trying to pay off little bits here and there of each loan you owe all at the same time.
You still need to make any minimum payments where they are required, but any extra money you have to go towards your debts should go to one place at a time. This way you will actually see some traction in your repayments, and seeing each form of debt diminish as the months go by is sure to keep you motivated!
PRIORITISE DEBT REPAYMENT OVER SAVINGS
Saving money when you are repaying debt is a sort of a catch 22 situation. As you are putting money into savings that could have gone towards debt repayment, you are then paying more interest on your loans, credit cards etc, because it is taking you longer to pay them off.
So make sure you have an emergency fund that you can dip into if the car breaks down or the boiler busts, but other than that, it’s best to prioritize paying down your debt before you think about savings.
CUT BACK ON THE NON ESSENTIALS
It doesn’t need to be said, but I see my friends making this mistake, and I even used to do the same thing when I was at the beginning of my debt repayment journey. Why would you even think about splurging money on new clothes, eating out at restaurants every week or booking holidays when you are drowning in debt?
If you ignore the problem and continue with your frivolous spending habits, the issue isn’t going to magically disappear. The only way you are going to pay off your debts is if you face the problem head-on, cut out any non-essential spending and put every penny you can manage towards repayments.
When my boyfriend and I were paying off our credit cards, we cancelled Apple Music subscriptions, cinema subscriptions, we stopped going out for coffee and if something broke, then we would either repair it, borrow it or go without.
FIND WAYS TO EARN EXTRA MONEY
Boosting your income will be the best thing you ever do to pay down your debts. Think of the extra money you earn as purely to put towards the money you owe, and you will reach financial freedom so much quicker than if you just try to pay back out of your main and only income source.
You could take on a second job such as waiting tables or cleaning, start a side business online or sell things around your home on eBay and Depop for extra cash. If you want more ideas on how to boost your income then check out my 25 Ways to Earn an Extra £1000 a Month.
Create a budget so that you can see exactly where your money is going every month. You can see what you’re spending on essential bills such as your mortgage, rent, phone bill, travel expenses. Then you can lay out your non-essential which might be things such as cable TV, music subscriptions, Netflix etc – here you can decide if these things are really worth the money you’re spending every month, or you might just want to cancel them temporarily while you’re paying off your debt.
Next is the ‘variable spending’ – this is where most people will be able to make the biggest cutbacks. Anything such as clothing, eating out, takeaways, holidays, homeware items, entertainment, holidays is a variable expense.
These are luxuries and need to be limited while you’re paying back the money you owe. Decide what is going to work best for you and once you have all your expenses written down, you can now see what’s left at the end of each month that you can pay towards your debts.
EVERY EXTRA PENNY GOES TOWARDS DEBT REPAYMENT
If we come into extra money that we weren’t expecting, it can be tempting to ‘treat ourselves’ and spend it on a holiday, a new outfit or concert tickets etc. However, if you want to reach a debt-free life, then you need to be putting every single penny that comes your way towards repayments.
Christmas and birthday money, tax refunds, bonuses etc – see all this money as an opportunity to pay off your debt sooner than you thought you could. I promise you that the feeling of being debt free will far outweigh the temporary joy that a new pair of jeans will bring you.
SET ATTAINABLE GOALS
Set goals that can be achieved. If by the time you have taken on a second job and cut back on luxuries, you have £500 per month that can go towards your debt repayment, then aim to pay back £6000 per year until it’s all paid off.
Don’t set a goal to pay off £10,000 worth of debt in 12 months when you only have £100 a month that can be paid towards your debts, because it’s not going to happen.
Setting unachievable goals helps nobody. You won’t be able to accomplish it and all that will happen is you will end up feeling defeated, which is likely to send you back into a spiral of spending money you don’t have leaving you even more in debt!
GET A BALANCE TRANSFER
Many people forget to mention balance transfers. If you have 2-3 credit cards that you own money on, which all have a high-interest rate, then you can probably find a different bank who will offer a balance transfer at a lower rate.
What this means is that you would consolidate those debts into one account. As an example: rather than having three credit cards which you owe £2000 at 29.9% APR you would take out one credit card or loan for £6000 at 9.9% APR. This allows you to see all the money you owe in one place, reduces the interest and makes it easier to pay off more each month – its also better for your credit rating as there are less active accounts on your file.
I don’t know if this is something that is offered internationally. You will need to research your options in whichever country you live in, however, for my UK readers, check out Money Saving Expert for details of the best balance transfer offers currently available.
TALK ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOUR PARTNER
Whether you are in a new relationship and your debts are fully your responsibility, or you have been married for some time and you are in joint debt, it’s important to talk about money with your other half. Debt repayment can be a difficult and lonely journey if you try to tackle the problem alone.
Share your feelings with a person you trust. You can keep one another motivated and look for ways to keep yourself entertained and having fun whilst still remaining on budget.
If you are currently single, then speak to a close friend, family member or sibling about what’s going on. It can feel embarrassing to talk about money sometimes but find a person you trust, and you will discover that talking about the problem will help you manage it so much more effectively!
THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
No matter how hopeless the situation might feel at the moment, just remember that you will come out the other end. Whether it takes you a couple of months or a couple of years, if you take on the right habits and mindset, you will pay off your debts and reach financial freedom.
To Finish Off…
I hope you enjoyed this post and I have motivated you to look for ways you can cut back on your finances or make more money to pay off your debts sooner.
If you have any more tips that you would like to share which have helped you to pay off debt sooner then please share these in the comments below.