Kelly Blodgett launched Money Gal Coaching with a goal of serving people who, like her, were burdened by debt. You can get her tips for paying down debt on a regular basis at Bring Me The News, in addition to the Money Gal Coaching website and Facebook page. Here is her latest story:
Having debt is no fun. Not only is it another bill siphoning money out of your paycheck, but you have to pay extra on top in the form of interest. Sometimes debt is unavoidable, emergencies do happen, or maybe you have debt but are ready to pay it off!
Here are three steps to ensure your debt gets paid off quickly so you can spend that money on something a little more fun than a payment.
Join my Ditch Debt & Live Rich group on Facebook to be a part of a supportive community.
Know Your Numbers
In order to make a plan to tackle your debt, you’ll want to know your numbers. What are these ‘numbers’ I speak of? You’ll want to know four things; the interest rate, minimum monthly payment, debt balance and any promotional offers such as zero interest for the first year.
When we know these numbers, we can use a debt calculator to see how long until we are debt free using scarios with various monthly payment options. You can see how long you have left if you continue to make minimum payments, pay an extra $50 a month or pay an extra $300 a month. Testing various monthly payment amounts might be the motivation you need to pay off your debt for good!
Choose a Non-negotiable Payment Amount
Once you have decided on a payment amount that works for you, make that number non-negotiable in your brain and your budget.
When I was paying off my student loan I promised myself that before restaurants, clothing or vacation, I made my extra payment on my student loan. This was so that I could have them paid off by the date that the debt calculator gave me without things popping up and ruining the plan.
To help buffer the budget during this phase I waitressed a few nights a week on top of my day job. I say this because it allowed me to have more money for things like vacation and restaurants. Without that extra income I would have had to reduce spending on those areas quite a bit.
Whether or not you have to reduce spending in certain areas while you are paying off debt will depend on your income and your cost of living. Maybe you have a great income you just need to streamline a bit. Or maybe you don’t have a high income and taking on another job isn’t possible right now, that’s ok you’ll just have a ‘debt free’ date that is a bit further out.
Use the Snowball Method
If you have multiple debts that you are trying to pay down, you should use the debt snowball method to focus on one debt at a time. By focusing all of your extra dollars on one debt, you can make a larger dent in the balance and ultimately pay all your debts off more quickly.
For example, I had multiple student loans I was making payments on. By using the snowball method, I threw my entire ‘extra debt payment’ amount, that non-negotiable payment you have from above, at the debt with the smallest balance. This was on top of my minimum payment. Once I paid off that debt, I focused the minimum payment from the paid off debt along with my non-negotiable payment towards my next smallest loan. I continue the process until all debts are paid.
For the longest time I was trying to pay extra on all of my debts but I wasn’t seeing progress, I was losing motivation and I would quit. With the snowball method, my non-negotiable payment actually increased as time went on. Not because I was making more money, but because I was getting better at budgeting. As I saw my balance dwindling, I was becoming more motivated and started eliminating other expenses from my budget to focus every possible dollar towards my debt. This is how I was able to pay off more than $46,000 in 20 months.
If you want to surround yourself with like-minded people during your debt journey, I would love for you to join the Ditch Debt & Live Rich community on Facebook. You will get money tips from me and other experts, be invited to attend private Q&A sessions to get your questions answered and be able to provide feedback on services you need most.
Ready to learn more or get started? Book a free call with me and let’s put financial clarity on top of your priority list this year.
Disclaimer: Bring Me The News will receive a portion of the proceeds from readers who purchase a service from Money Gal Coaching via our articles.