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Debt is the biggest problem facing the average American. Further credit is taken out to pay down old debt and the vicious cycle continues for decades.
The average American has $38,000 worth of debt, excluding home mortgages. It demonstrates that most people have a poor understanding of finance and living within their means.
The professionals at Gladiator Lending believe in adopting an aggressive strategy of paying down debt. That’s why this guide is going to show you everything you need to know about paying down your debt.
Freelancing became popular after the financial crisis of 2008. It’s estimated that approximately 56 million Americans perform freelance work today.
This doesn’t mean that they’re full-time freelancers. These numbers consider Americans who performed some sort of freelance work in the last year.
So what type of freelance work is available?
Freelance Job Recommendations from Gladiator Lending
Many freelancers take out short-term loans that will help them manage until their outstanding invoices are paid. These are some of the most common freelance job types:
- Online content writing
- Graphic design
- Web development
- Software development
- Translation services
These are just some of the options on the table if you want to pick up freelance work. It’s never been easier to find this type of work as more companies are outsourcing than ever.
Start an Online Business
Don’t just pick up freelance work. Use your skills to build a sustainable business on the side. This will give you a secondary income that can be used to increase your income and prevent debt from getting on top of you in the future.
An online business can involve absolutely anything from drop shipping on eBay to crafting your own products on Etsy.
Just keep in mind that it can take a lot of time and effort to build up an online business, so don’t use this option for quick income.
Pick Up a Second Job
Around 7.6 million Americans currently work multiple jobs. It can be difficult to prepare for two jobs, particularly if they’re both full-time. However, it may be worth taking a second job if you have a high level of debt.
It is recommended to take second jobs in short bursts. You do have to consider that your tax bill will be higher, so it’s not always going to give you as much additional income as you think.
Think about seasonal work, such as around Christmas. An additional job for a few weeks can enable you to pay down your debt without killing yourself in the process.
Pick Up Gigs from Craigslist
As described above, some temporary work can enable you to pay down your debts. Craigslist is an excellent option for both online work and part-time jobs in your local area.
It can be anything from babysitting to helping someone switch up their website domain.
Start a Work from Home Job
A work from home job is a simple concept. It’s a form of part-time or full-time work you can carry out entirely from the comfort of your own home. This differs from freelancing because you are an employee and are entitled to benefits.
An example of this would be customer service work. Many companies outsource their customer service needs or even tech support needs to folks who prefer to work from their home instead of a call center.
Adjust Your Budget
Sometimes it’s necessary to re-examine in your finances. Approximately 30% of Americans maintain any long-term financial plan, and these tend to be the middle classes and the rich. Poorer Americans are highly unlikely to have any sort of budget at all.
Your first step is to create a budget, so you know where you’re spending money.
How to Keep and Adjust a Budget
It’s quite simple. There are plenty of apps, such as Albert, that can track your income and expenses. Alternatively, you can manage your budget using an excel spreadsheet.
Figure out how much money you have going out and coming in each month. Then you’ll be able to see how much wiggle room you have and how much you need to adjust your budget in order to aggressively pay off your debts.
Pay Off the Highest Interest Rate Debts First
The most important rule of paying down debt is to get rid of any debts that have high-interest rates attached, even if it means temporarily not paying your other low-interest debts.
Remember, you can’t pay off most high-interest rate debts by simply meeting the minimum monthly repayment.
That’s how Americans end up in debt forever.
Live Off of One Income
The evidence shows that most Americans are not living within their means. Almost 3 in 5 Americans are currently in debt, and this number is only set to keep rising.
So, what’s the solution?
You need to learn to live off one income. It’s not as farfetched as it sounds when you look at your budget and figure out where to make cuts.
It may require some drastic changes to your life, but if you’re unable or unwilling to take on additional work this is the right choice.
What Does Living Off One Income Mean?
Basically, if you’re in a relationship, where both partners are working, one partner’s income (preferably the breadwinner) should be used for the purpose of paying off living expenses and living. The other partner’s income will be used for solely the purpose of paying off debt.
Set Debt Payoff Incentives
Reward yourself every time you pay off a different debt. Take a short weekend trip somewhere. Go out for a nice meal at a restaurant. Little things can keep you motivated and stop you from feeling crushed under the weight of debt.
Sometimes a little motivation can go a long way in helping you to stick to your debt payoff plan.
Reduce Your Spending
It goes without saying that the easiest way to pay down your debts is to reduce your spending. There are things to cut in most budgets. Therefore, make your budget and figure out where you can make changes.
You can even go one step further if you’re stretched to the limit. For example, couponing is a popular way of saving money. Shopping at thrift stores instead of brand stores is another option.
There are so many ways in which you can reduce your spending.
Ways to Reduce Spending
- Commit to purchasing groceries instead of eating out
- Switch to a subscription for your tv (i.e. Netflix or Hulu) instead of paying for cable
- Stop spending money on apps on your phone
- Cancel any memberships/subscriptions that you’re not using
Put Your Credit Cards in the Freezer in a Ziplock Bag Full of Water
A little extreme maybe, but for many people, they’re physically unable to stay away from their credit cards.
Some people recommend cutting up your cards, but this a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The alternative is to freeze them. That way you can still use them in an emergency, but you must really work to get them out again.
Do Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation services are ideal for those who are struggling to pay down multiple debts at once.
It’s not the right choice for everyone, but in many cases, it can lead to lower interest rates and an easier repayment plan.
File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy If It’s Too Much
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the nuclear option if you expect to take more than ten years to pay off your personal debts, excluding mortgages, or your standard of living is suffering too much as a result of those debts.
This type of bankruptcy stays on your record for ten years, but it offers you a fresh start.
It’s also useful to mention this to your lenders if they won’t budge. They’ll often change their opinions because chapter 7 bankruptcy often means they won’t get any of the money owed to them repaid.
But keep in mind that this is only for people with serious debts. It’s not the right choice for most people.
Final Thoughts – You Can Pay Off Your Debt Stress-Free
These tips cover every aspect of paying down your debts. By adjusting your work and personal situations you can get the breathing space you need to pay down your debts.
It’s not impossible and you don’t need to be a financial whizz to do it. You just must live smart.
How are you going to pay down your debts?