13 Proven Ways to Accelerate​ Debt Payoff and Save Thousands

Debt payoff. It was something I wanted so badly but just wasn’t sure how to start. By the time Tom and I finally decided we were fed up with debt, we had heard a million different strategies on how to pay off debt and were more determined than ever to find a strategy and stick with it. On top of finding a good debt payoff strategy, we wanted to make sure we found any other tricks or ideas we could that would allow us to pay off debt even faster than the payoff plan. After 3 years of paying off debt, we have found 13 proven ways to accelerate debt payoff and help save thousands on interest!

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Reduce your monthly bills

The very simplest way to start creating money to help accelerate debt payoff is to reduce what you already have. This could be as simple as using less water or making sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room. Or, you can be a little more proactive about it!

Try these money saving substitutes:

  • Cable –> Mohu antena: Save thousands every year
  • Gym membership –> Aaptiv app: Average of $650 saved per year
  • Store bought pet food –> Chewy: 30% off pet food and supplies
  • Current phone plan –> Ting: Average cost per month is $25!
  • Missing something? –> Trim app will review your spending and find you places where you could be paying less on your monthly bills!

Cancel unused subscriptions

There is no bigger waste than something that is going unused. Especially something like a subscription!

If you are not taking full advantage of that gym membership, that local club or your Jelly of the Month club, then do yourself a favor and cancel the membership!

Consider how much you could accelerate your debt payoff if you weren’t paying these unused fees each month!

Empty your savings…well, almost

If you have serious debt that you are working to pay off, but have a hefty savings account, it might be worth it to remove money from your savings in order to pay off your debt.

You are losing big money to interest:

Let’s say you have $10,000 in debt to pay off and your interest rate is 25% (what most credit cards charging.) This snapshot from CreditKarma.com shows that this debt will actually take 58 months (or 4 years and 8 months) to pay off and you will be paying over $7,000 in interest.

CreditKarma.com

And not gaining much by keeping your savings:

One of the biggest reasons people keep their savings while also trying to accelerate their debt payoff is because they are gaining interest on the money they have saved and are afraid to lose that money.

So take a moment to consider that you have a savings account with $10,000 in it. (The exact amount of debt you have to pay off.) If we take an average interest rate for a Money Market Savings Account at 1.85% in 5 years you will only have only made $968 on that $10,000. Here is a snapshot from Bankrate.com’s Simple Savings’s Calculator.

Simple Savings Calculator

How much would you have if you emptied your savings?

So what if you took that $10,000 and paid off your debt then began contributing $300 per month (your old debt payment) to a CIT Bank Savings Builder account with a 2.45% interest rate?

In 5 years you will have saved over $19,000 and made over $1,000 in interest. Learn more about the Savings Builder.

Simple Savings Calculator

While emptying your savings can be a scary thing, it’s pretty clear to see how much better off you would be if you do. Putting large savings toward your debt does more than accelerate your debt payoff, it actually has the potential to allow you to save more money and make more money in interest as well!

Just think, in 5 years you have the potential to almost double your savings and be debt free.

Stop saving

Now while I say it may be a smart move to empty your savings if it can help you pay off debt, it is important to remember to always keep a $1,000 emergency fund savings to help you cover the cost of unexpected events. By doing this you create a safety net that will stop you from digging into credit card debt in order to fund your emergency. See 12 ways to save $1,000 fast.

Once you have a $1,000 emergency fund in place, put your savings on hold (if you were setting aside money each month) and begin putting all additional funding toward accelerating debt payoff.

Create a grocery budget that challenges you

Besides reducing your monthly bills and tweaking your savings, changing your grocery bill is the next best way to start finding more money to help accelerate debt payoff.

Take a minute and calculate how much you spent on groceries in the last 3 months. If you are not living on a budget, this number will most likely shock you.

I know before we were living on a budget it wasn’t uncommon for us to drop between $300 and $500 in one shopping trip for our family of 5. Now it’s more common for us to spend $100 per week for our family of 5.

Reducing the amount of money you spend on groceries each month can be stressful at first, but it can be a huge game changer when it comes to accelerating debt payoff and getting more money in your pocket.

Not great at planning meals or sticking to a budget? That’s ok! Check out the $5 Meal Plan! There are meal plans and grocery lists created by a busy mother of 4 and are designed to help you feed your family healthy, nutritious meals on a budget!

Start selling things

Chances are you have a little bit of junk you have been hanging onto for a little too long. So, maybe it’s time to hop on the KonMari train and start only keeping the items that spark joy and start selling the rest.

Places like Decluttr make it crazy easy to sell things like books, DVDs and video games. For everything else, I always recommend Facebook Marketplace!

Get a reduced interest rate

That credit card interest rate is no joke! The good news is, there may be something that you can do about it. Here are some quick tips on reducing your interest rate to help accelerate debt payoff:

  • Do your research on what other credit card companies have for interest rates.
  • Start with cards that you have had for a long time because those companies are going to try harder to keep you happy.
  • Call and ask. It really can be that simple. Just calling the credit card company and asking them to lower your interest rate may do the trick.
  • If they insist they can’t lower your interest rate, feel free to ask to speak with a manager.
  • When you call, be kind but persistent.
  • Know what you want. Don’t just ask for a lower interest rate. Tell them what you want your rate lowered to and give your reasoning behind it without getting too personal. Base your reasoning off the research you have done.

Take out a lower interest loan:

What Tom and I chose to do in order to pay off our high-interest rate credit card, was take out a loan with a lower interest rate. We used the loan to pay off our credit card debt and then proceeded to spend the next year focusing on getting the loan paid off as fast as possible.

If you have high interest rates, or multiple debts, it might be worth it to take out a loan to get those larger interest debts paid off quickly. You can apply online with The Loan Exchange to see if you qualify for a lower interest rate.

Dispute your debt

If your credit score is drastically affecting your life and your ability to succeed, it may be worth it to see if you are able to dispute your debts. This could not only improve your credit score but has the potential to accelerate debt payoff as well.

To see if you qualify for credit improvement, check the Credit Assistance Network.

Credit improvement was something I had to do many years ago after moving from Arizona. During the process of moving, I had missed a car payment, but the bills were all being sent to my old address so I had no idea I had skipped a payment. Of course this meant I missed a payment, had late fees on top of it and ultimately made a huge dent in my credit score.

Luckily, after disputing the debt, I was able to get the late fees waived and got my credit score back to where it should be.

The Debt Snowball

Once you have this $1,000 savings in place, stop saving and start applying all your additional funds to help pay off your debts! Our family was able to go from house poor to completely debt in free in under 3 years by putting our savings on hold and using Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball.

If you haven’t heard of the Debt Snowball, check out my video where I break down how to start and what we did to pay off our debt even faster.

Create an extra income

I am a big believer that if you want more money in your life, sometimes you have to make more money!

Personally, I started a blog and it almost single-handedly allowed us accelerate debt payoff and become debt free. To learn more about how to start making money with a blog, check out the 7 most asked blogging questions and take advantage of the huge savings that is happening right now in my blogging course, The Fun Sized Blogging Basics.

Quick start ways to make extra cash fast:

  • AirBNB – Host your home, room, apartment or loft with AirBNB and starting bringing in another stream of income. Check the AirBNB calculator to find out how much people are earning in your area.
  • Instacart – Get paid to shop! Set your own hours and choose how involved you want to be! Get started today!
  • Rover – Watch dogs or walk dogs and get paid for it!! Or get a $20 credit for your dog!
  • SayABC – Earn up to $21 per hour, set your own hours, and teach English online! Apply today.
  • Uber – Become a driver with Uber. Set your own schedule and get paid up to 5 times her day along with chances for additional incentives in your city. Check it out!
  • UberEATS – Earn extra money when you need it, day or night and deliver food instead of people! Check if UberEATS is in your area.

Live on budget

One of the best and most freeing things you can do for yourself and for your finances is to start living on a budget! I know it might sound like a budget is more limiting and stressful, but in reality it is the best way to be more in charge of your money.

The budget we use is Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar budget. This app is so easy to use and if you are budgeting with a partner, it makes it very easy for both people to view the budget on their devices.

The EveryDollar app is designed to help you live on a Zero Based Budget…which means you budget for every single penny. All you do is put in the money you earn as well as your bills and other budget items. Then the app does all the math for you.

See some of my best budgeting posts:

Ask for a raise

If you have been working at the same job for a long time, there is a good chance you have a lot more leeway than you might think when it comes to negotiating your pay. You just have to be brave enough to ask.

Quick tips for negotiating a raise:

  • Just like negotiating credit card interest, it is important to do your research. Wanting more money is fine, but what is your reasoning behind it?
  • Keep things professional. Explain why you believe the work you do deserves a raise. Don’t dive into your personal financial struggles. Focusing on the effort you put into your job is going to be the best way to make your case.
  • Don’t be afraid to practice your speech. Make sure you know what you’re going to say ahead of time so that you sound as professional as possible.

See more raise negotiating tips from The Motley Fool

Set a finish date goal

One of the best things you can do to help accelerate your debt payoff is set a goal for a finish date. You can do this by calculating out your payments and then maybe shaving a few months off just to give yourself a little extra boost.

I know that setting a finish date can make things really intimidating but consider that even if you don’t pay off your debt on the exact date you planned, you still may get it paid off a lot sooner than you originally would have!

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Dying to be debt free? Use these 13 tips to accelerate debt payoff, start saving yourself thousands and get your life back!  #debtpayoff #payoffdebt #debtfree #livedebtfree #debtfreejourney

About The Author

Renee

Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.

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