We all have debt, it’s like that aunt that no one likes, but you're obligated to invite her to your big life events. Want to buy a house, good luck with that debt! Want to go on that hot vacayyy, damn, credit cards are maxed. How about buying that new car, you baller you, oops, your credit score is poking its nose in and getting in the way.
So we have debt. We don’t like debt. We want to live our lives free of it. But how???
When you are constantly being hit up with ads with the latest gadgets and fashion trends on your as you creep your exes on Facebook, it’s kind of hard to avoid going deeper into credit card debt.
Most twentysomethings are in thousands of dollars worth of debt after getting a piece of paper proving you partied your way through university only to find out that no one hires degrees, they hire experience (and no, mastering a keg stand does not count as experience). Sorry…
So you have a job in middle management being paid next to nothing, you’re bombarded by enticing ads all day online, and your mom wants you to move out of her basement… What do you do?
How do you get out of this crippling debt? How do you afford the lifestyle you want, instead of the lifestyle you’re forced to live?
I will give you the 3 quick and easy tips that will get you out of debt and help you start to live life better.
1. Start simple: Pick a Debt and Pay It Off!
Lay out all of your debts, who you owe, what the interest rates are, and the amount. If you don’t have all of the information, don’t worry about it. Just put the amount down.
This is going to be a scary, eye opening and stressful experience. But it’s the best experience you will have when it comes to taking responsibility for your debts! Own up to your debt, see what you are doing wrong, and make steps to correct it.
Put those debts in order of importance to you! Whether it is the biggest debt, smallest debt, easiest to get rid of, hardest to get rid of, most interest, money you owe your parents, or whatever. It does not matter which one. Pick the one that inspires you the most, the one that is the most painful to you in your life, for whatever reason.
Picking the most painful debt to focus on will help spur you to get rid of it! Once you start rolling, you will find yourself motivated to get rid of the rest.
The most important factor to this is that you pay it off first. If you are spreading out your payments, it will feel like you are taking forever to pay it all off, you will be less inclined to get rid of debts fully.
* Note: If you have minimum payments due on any of your debts, make sure you pay those minimums, at least! This will prevent your credit score from being further damaged.
2. Don’t add to your debt
Figure out where your debt is coming from and stop adding to it.
Print off your bank statements and credit card statements and highlight all of the ‘extra’ non-necessity spending you are doing.
Eating out a lot? Shopping on Amazon? Spending on handbags and shoes? On the reverse side, what is coming into your bank?
You need to know what your money is doing for you! Are you unnecessarily spending money on stuff and things you don’t need? Can you cut back on food costs?
Stop adding to your debts!!! With this awareness of what’s coming in and where it’s going, you can make small changes and eliminations. That money can go to Part 1 - pay off that painful debt.
Become an unapologetic snob. Be snobbish about what you buy, be snobbish about what you experience, just be a snob with your money.
If you don’t absolutely love it and don’t absolutely think that the thing will add to your quality of life and that it won’t define you as a person - don’t buy it.
Buy things that are unequivocally you - they define you and your image, these things are amazing to you! They are the best of the best and you absolutely love it! Spend your hard earned money on those things, and only on those things. Who has time to spend hard earned cash on ‘meh’ things and experiences.
My absolute must haves that I refuse to skimp on:
Coffee - only Illy for this girl, yeah it’s 20$ for 16 oz can of ground beans - it is me and I love it. I must have it.
Food - no sub par take out for me. Only delicious, fresh, and home cooked goodness for me
Netflix - Screw cable
Online courses and books - I’d rather read a good book or go through a well put together course than go shopping and mindlessly spend my money on crap
Be a snob about the things you love. Don’t give in to impulsive purchases on things that don’t define you and don’t make you glow on the inside. Yes, I said glow on the inside, Netflix totally makes me glow - especially Downton Abbey - don’t judge.
Here is another freebie (cause I’m so damn nice). It’s a simple budget template. Nothing complicated about this shit, just plug in your numbers and see where your money is (or isn’t).
3. Make Mo’ Money
Easiest way to pay off debt is to make more money, duh… I know, you’re thinking ‘why didn’t I think of that!’ right…. Yeah, insightful! Anyways, I know, easier said than done. But here are a bunch of ways you can make some instant cash to pay off your debt!
Sell oldish clothes online
Sell oldish furniture
Sell oldish electronics
Sell stuff on ebay, amazon, facebook sales pages, kijiji, craigslist. If you aren’t using it and it doesn’t make you glow on the inside - get rid of it!!
Become a mystery shopper
Fill out surveys
I will be perfectly 100% honest here, these options suck. They don’t pay much and they are tedious and hard to find legit services. I’ve tried these and failed horribly. So I put them here only to show you the option - but don’t do it. Unless you have a ridiculous amount of time on your hands or have a connection that has done it, don’t. do. it…
Start a blog and write about stuff you’re good at
Start a YouTube channel and talk about stuff you’re good at
Get a part time job on the side - find something fun - (added benefit of also making new friends this way)
Get a roommate(s)!
In my early twenties, I had two renters in my home, I didn't love it. But I did love the money. If you are single like I was at the time and have extra rooms in your house/rental - RENT THEM OUT. WHY AREN’T YOU ALREADY DOING THIS? Seriously. Don’t be house broke. Have someone else pay your rent/mortgage. I like to go for students or temporary workers - short term is the best. That way if you don’t like them, you aren’t stuck with them for long.
So, you have debt. And it sucks.
Now you have debt, it sucks, but you have a plan.
Enjoy your better life ;)