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Sometimes it can seem like it takes forever to pay off debt. The idea behind Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball is that you can knock out smaller debts quickly and feel like you are gaining some momentum, but once you get into those bigger debts it can seem like you are slogging through them. Today I am going to share a few tips to help pay off debt faster, even the big ones!
Cut The Cord
A lot of people I talk to think they have already cut their expenses to bare bones, but more often than not there is still some fat that could be trimmed. Cable, satellite, and even streaming services like Netflix are not necessities and can be cut if you are really serious about getting out of debt as quickly as possible. When I was a single mom getting out of debt I even cancelled my home internet service. A lot of people assume internet IS a necessity, but I lived without it even though I earn some of my income online. It isn’t exactly FUN to go without some of these things, but it is totally doable. You might even be surprised about how much time you free up when you aren’t glued to a TV or computer screen!
Save Money On Your Utilities
One of our biggest monthly expenses is our utilities. Living in an older home with an older furnace is about the polar opposite of energy efficient, but we have found ways to cut our bill. Saving money is not always glamorous, but we put plastic over our windows and draft stoppers in from of our doors to keep our house warmer. Many power companies will do a free audit of your home to determine how energy efficient it is. I am forever cold, but getting an electric blanket has allowed us to turn the heat down almost 10 degrees at night. Unplug things you aren’t using, shut lights of when you leave a room, take shorter showers. Little things can add up to big savings.
Stop Creating More Debt
It kind of seems like this should go without saying, but a lot of people (myself included at one time) keep using credit cards they are trying to pay off. STOP! That’s like brushing your teeth while you are eating. So many people try to justify keeping credit cards because of the rewards, but studies have shown that people swiping a card don’t put as much consideration into the cost as those paying with cash. Cash back offers are a marketing ploy by companies who make a hefty profit from those who do NOT pay their balance off every month. Everyone I know claims they pay their balance monthly, but statistically this isn’t likely. Just stop using the credit cards.
One of my biggest budget downfalls is failing to plan ahead. When I get stuck late at work and the meal I planned for the evening will require an hour of prep, guess what? I’m going to be calling Jimmy John’s for dinner. Just this morning a police officer pulled me over on my way home from work because one of my brake lights was out. A situation that once would have induced panic because the pinch a ticket or repair would have put on our budget actually turned into a pleasant exchange with a very nice officer. My light was fixed less than an hour later with no ding to our budget because I planned ahead. Your car WILL need repairs. Your kids WILL hurt themselves and end up at urgent care. Plan accordingly so you don’t end up swiping a credit card.
Don’t Forget To Dream
If you aren’t rock solid on your why for becoming debt free, you will lose your focus and get discouraged. What could your life really look like if you didn’t have the burden of debt and financial stress? Make a vision board, journal some ideas. Get clear on what you want your life to look like, and run at it! The intensity that comes from having a goal is what drives people to pay off huge amounts of debt quickly.
Dave Ramsey often talks about gazelle intensity, and that means getting out of debt like your hair is on fire! He doesn’t intend for people to take years and years to pay off their debt, but instead get it knocked out in an average of two years. That requires some serious sacrifice, and sometimes second and third jobs, but the rewards are so worth it! Whether you are just getting started on your debt-free journey, or feel like you’ve gotten stuck in the mud, try a few of these tips and get intense!