Frugal Living

6 Creative Ways to Work Your Way Out of Debt

Today it’s incredibly rare to come by someone with $0 of debt to their name. In fact, according to a CNBC report the average American has about $38,000 of personal debts. Whether you’re indebted to your alma mater or to your past credit card purchases, it’s fair to say that everyone has their fair share of debt.

And since we’re facing facts, it’s time to address the elephant in the room; financial debts are incredibly burdensome and difficult to deal with in more ways than one. Not only can your debts have you struggling to make ends meet, but they can take a serious toll on your mental health. After all, being shackled to the financial weight of past purchases is not easy to bear.

Paying off debt can be frustrating, confusing, and seriously draining (both mentally and financially). If you don’t have the right plan in place, everything can feel that much more overwhelming. Use this guide to 6 creative ways to work your way out of debt to set yourself up for future debt-free success.

1. Become a cord-cutter

You should know better than anyone else that your cable subscription can run up a bill totaling more than $100 per month. Instead of falling for the trap that is cable television, consider signing up for a subscription service like Hulu or Netflix to satiate your entertainment needs for a fraction of the cost.

2. Track your spending

Tracking your spending can be difficult when you’ve grown accustomed to simply swiping your card when payment is due. Signing up for a program or an application that categorizes and analyzes where your money goes is a great hands-off way to grasp a better understanding of where you stand financially on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.

Consider these excellent apps/programs:

  • Penny
  • Clarity Money
  •  Wally
  •  Mint

3. Plan your grocery tips

Every human being needs enough sustenance to survive, so there’s no need to exponentially reduce the amount of food you buy to the point where you’re sacrificing filling meals. Planning out meals and food needs before heading to the grocery not only serves as a great way to get everything you need, but it’s also an excellent money-saving method. You could save hundreds per month by handling your grocery trips with care—hundreds that could go toward reducing your debts.

4. Be smart during tax season

Tax season can be nerve-wracking, and no matter how many times you survive tax season, the next always feels just as overwhelming. While your dreams of filling out Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt may not be a reality quite yet, you can still take advantage of the many available credits and deductions available on both state and federal levels. Don’t submit your return until you’re absolutely sure you’ve filled everything out with the utmost accuracy—missing a detail or doing the wrong match could land you in deeper debt.

You may even consider outsourcing your tax duties to a professional who won’t make mistakes but can give you the peace of mind you deserve.

5. Budget better

If you’re serious about paying your debts down faster, you’ll need to make drastic cuts in your expenses. Employ a bare-bones budget to keep that is completely void of any superfluous purchases. This means cutting out unnecessary clothes shopping, fast food runs, or impulse buys. Living on a strict budget will allow you to see exactly where your money is going outside of bills. With the extra money you save you should be able to put a decent amount more toward your outstanding debts.

6. Start a side gig

Everyone has a talent or skill that they can transform into an additional stream of income. If you’re great with kids, you could consider babysitting. Maybe you have a keen eye for details and knack for orderly logistics, a job as a virtual assistant could support your financial needs. Not sure where to start? Check out these great sites where anyone can find ways to make some extra dough:

  • TaskRabbit
  • Upwork
  • AngiesList
  • Fiverr

While working your way out of debt will take plenty of hard work, it’s important to know you’re not alone in the struggle. With these 6 creative ideas, you can earn or keep some extra money in your pockets and put it all toward your debt-free future.

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