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. In her words, these are tips and tricks that she used to pay off debt.
1. Create a budget
I always thought a budget was for poor people that needed a plan. Which ironically was me but I didn’t think so at the time. By writing down your plan ahead of time you are able to ensure that you aren’t spending more than you make and that every penny is going towards your goals. I wrote more about starting budget here.
2. Pay extra on current debt
This may seem like an obvious one but you’d be surprised. Use your budget to determine how much you can afford to pay extra each month and make that payment first! When we make debt payments at the end of the month life gets in the way and we don’t pay as much as we had originally planned.
By comparing my spending habits with my income I was able to see how much I could afford to pay extra on debt with my current lifestyle. No matter what my income was each month, I would always pay the same amount towards my debt.
If I wanted to go out to eat more or go on vacation, I would pick up an extra shift, or sell some stuff online, and that would be my fun money, not my paycheck. Depending on how quickly you want to get out of debt, you can reduce spending in certain areas of your life and increase your monthly debt payment.
3. Don’t sign up for new debt
I had to call this one out because our society normalizes debt to an extreme, we even have “good debt” and “bad debt.” Debt is debt. Period. Depending on your personal goals you may want to eliminate certain debts before others but to truly build wealth, don’t take on new debt.
4. Get a side hustle
Everyone should have multiple streams of income coming in, it’s a safety net in case something changes with your job. Increased income doesn’t mean increased lifestyle. Send extra income towards your debt or use it to pay for larger purchases in cash.
While I was paying off debt my side hustle was waitressing. It was dependable easy cash and I had been doing it for so long I could do it in my sleep.
The side hustle that I am currently obsessed with is flipping furniture. I used to find items that just needed a little work – some stain, maybe a fresh coat of paint – but I am moved onto straight flips. I find items that I think are cute, unique and don’t need any work to be functioning. I think to myself, ‘would I put this in my house as is?’ I search for things that cost less than $20 and I list them on Facebook Marketplace for much more.
You would be surprised how much stuff people get rid of that they simply don’t want to deal with, and even more surprised at what people will pay for it.
5. Have some real (sometimes hard) conversations with yourself
Personal finance always involves self reflection. Whether you make a lot of money, or have a smaller income, can you afford the lifestyle you currently live? I am going to guess no if you have debt. Do you need to cut subscription services? Do you really need a new phone every two years? Small lifestyle changes add up and make a large impact towards paying off debt.