How to Get Out of Debt Fast – 7 Main Steps

The debt of an average American is skyrocketing, and many are dealing with overwhelming financial struggles. As the saying goes, ‘desperate times call for desperate measures.’ So, many American households are looking for information on how to get out of debt fast. How can you manage your payments, get out of the bull’s eyes of creditors and save your credit score?

the words debt relief scrabble letters

Dealing with a debt crisis can bring on a lot of frustration and stress. However, there are ways to approach debt and make it more manageable. We have gathered the top tips from financial experts on how to get out of debt fast. We hope that the following tips will help you find a financial peace of mind.

How to Get Out of Debt Fast

Debt can be an overwhelming thing to deal with. However, with the proper advice and planning, you can get out from under the shadow of your piling bills. There are many different types of sources that debt can come from. The most frequently cited reasons for debt is student loans, credit cards, and car loans. It might take a while, but there are steps you can take to help manage these debts.

a pile of credit cards

The quicker you get the debt paid off, the better. Not only will you have saved on interest, but you will also be done with the stress of dealing with hefty monthly payments. You might think that living in ignorance is the answer to dealing with debt.

However, ignoring your financial situation will only result in disastrous outcomes. For example, you will have a hard time every owning a home, buying a car or securing lines of credit. Become familiar with your financial situation and create a plan on how to make it as manageable and possible. The future you will thank you.

Top 7 Steps on How to Get Out of Debt Fast

1. Find Clever Ways to Make Some Extra Cash

some dollar bills under a rolling pin

It is pretty simple. The more money you have coming in each month, the more you are able to put towards paying off your monthly debt. Find an effective way to make a little extra cash on the side. For example, do you have a creative hobby?

Find a method to share your talent with others. One woman reported making around a thousand dollars a month crocheting scarves and hats for local craft fairs. Handmade wares can be extremely moneymakers.

Another simple way to make some extra money is to get a part-time job. Services like Uber or Lyft, are great opportunities for someone looking to make extra income in their spare time without making a big commitment. Don’t forget traditional ways of making money, such as babysitting, cleaning or handyman services.

2. Utilize the Debt Snowball Method

You might have heard of the debt snowball method. It all begins by listing all of your debt and outstanding balances from smallest to biggest. Then work your way down the list. Put the majority of your funds towards the smallest amount of debt, while you continue to pay the minimum amount on to the other debts.

As you pay off the smaller debts, you are working your way to the biggest. This will create a snowball effect, allowing you to pay more towards bigger debts. Eventually, you will find yourself debt free.

3. Create a Budget

dollar bills in the shape of a pie chart

Even if you don’t find yourself struggling with crippling debt, a budget is still a healthy way to manage your finances. Write down all your monthly expenses, from bills to spending money expenses.

Then, using your monthly income, find out how much money can be spent on each category. A budget will help you from overspending on frivolous things and keep an eye on debt or important bills. This is also a helpful way to see your money spending habits.

4. Pay More Than the Minimum

Mostly all debt, especially credit cards and student loans, accrue interest this month. This means the total amount you will spend to pay off your balance will increase. This is the reason that it is so important to pay more than the minimum payment each month.

Try to put as much towards the debt as possible. Before making a large payment, check with the credit company and make sure there are no penalties for paying debt off early.

5. Negotiate with Collectors

If you find yourself unable to cover monthly payments or feel as if a balance is too high for you to find the means to pay off, don’t be afraid to call the company. Most debt collectors are willing to negotiate. Some will even be willing to work out a better payment plan or even lower your balance amount.

Sometimes once a debt has been out for so long, collection agencies are willing to settle for a less amount just to get the account closed. Don’t ignore debt collection calls. Answer the phone and be completely honest with your financial situation. You might find that they are willing to work something out.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Lower Interest Rates

a big red zero percent sign

Speaking of talking with the credit company, another topic you shouldn’t be afraid to bring up is interest rates. Some companies might be willing to negotiate a lower interest rate, which means more savings for you.

7. Drop Expensive Habits or Indulgences

An obvious step to help create more income that can go towards outstanding debt is dropping expensive habits, such as that daily Starbucks latte. It is pretty incredible to see how these small daily indulgences can add up each month. Making sacrifices like this is key on how to get out of debt fast.

Bottom Line

Using these simple tips is the perfect answer for how to get out of debt fast. Whether you have a small amount of debt or a crushing total, it is possible to achieve a financial peace of mind. Start now and remember that every dollar counts. What strategies or tips do you have for how to get out of debt fast? Have you tried them? Tell us your debt stories in the comments below.

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Top 7 Meals Under $10 to Prepare for Your Kids

You could cut costs by 50% or more when you learn how to prepare inexpensive meals from home. It’s all about finding the right recipes and developing the right habits for saving money on grocery shopping and cooking. Time is also a factor in how expensive a meal is, so you must also consider how long it takes to cook a meal.

some spring rolls on a white plate

With so many recipes online, it can feel overwhelming to find the best recipes that are not only inexpensive and easy to make but are approved of by your kids. The extra money you save by following the tips listed below and adapting to cooking meals under $10 can deposit in a family travel fund, your retirement account, or your child’s education fund.

How to Prepare Meals Under $10

If you’re in charge of the budget or cooking for your family, then you’re probably trying to find ways to cut costs to save money. How much you spend on food is one of the areas you can drastically cut costs. Cooking food at home is cheaper than eating out.

Using an example from Cheapism.com, a classic roasted chicken dinner with vegetables costs $16 tip included at a restaurant. Without the tip, it would be about $13, but tipping is customary in America. When you cook a classic roasted chicken dinner at home, the cost is $6.41. That’s more than half the price that you would pay at a restaurant.

You can save even more money on meals by collecting a list of the best inexpensive recipes. There are many delicious meals you can cook for less than 10 dollars. And they are often quick and easy to prepare as well.

There are some good habits you should develop to assist in preparing meals under $10. One of the habits you should develop is planning meals ahead of time. When you go to the store knowing exactly what you need, you won’t overspend. Going to the store without a list results in buying more than necessary. Another good money saving habit is to cook based on what’s in season.

Produce is cheaper when it’s in season. A trick to make cuts of lower quality meat taste better when you buy them is to use them in crock pot recipes. The slow cooker will make the meat turn out more tender and flavorful.

Top 7 Meals Under $10 to Prepare for Your Family

1. Cambell’s Orange Picante Chicken

One of the most delicious meals under $10 that you can make is Cambell’s Orange Picante Chicken. The ingredients you’ll need are boneless chicken breast, Pace Picante sauce, orange marmalade, garlic cloves, and rice. Of course, you’ll also need vegetable oil for cooking the chicken, but you probably always have cooking oil on hand.

2. Huevos Mexicanos

A good, healthy breakfast, Huevos Mexicanos is eggs with cilantro and Monterey Jack cheese. You could also use Huevos Mexicanos as a filling for pita pockets or corn tortillas. Some toppings you may want to try on this meal are hot sauce, black pepper, avocado, and salsa.

3. Chicken Alfredo

a pasta and chicken alfredo dish

Chicken Alfredo is a pasta dish that many people enjoy. You can make it under $10 with chicken breast, linguine, mushrooms, frozen mixed vegetables, milk, and a jar of Alfredo-style pasta sauce. Angel hair pasta can substitute linguine to cook the meal faster. The jar of Alfredo sauce also saves you time and money on preparing the sauce. A small variation you can try for extra flavor is cooking the chicken with lemon paper and seasoning salt.

4. Meatloaf

You can make this classic American dinner for less than $10. Pair it with mashed potatoes and green peas for a full, delicious, and inexpensive dinner. Another vegetable that goes well with meatloaf is cooked carrots. All you need for cooking the meatloaf is lean ground beef, onion, eggs, tomato sauce, and oats.

Most meatloaf recipes use breadcrumbs, but oats can be used as a substitute. You may also add green pepper to this recipe if you like green peppers in your meatloaf.

5. BBQ Pork Sandwich

two medium-sized burgers

One of the easiest meals under $10 that you can make is BBQ pork sandwiches. You can prepare BBQ pork sandwiches with pork loin, hamburger buns, and BBQ sauce. Experiment with different BBQ sauces to find your favorite combination. To cook the pork, cut it in half and place it in the crock pot with BBQ sauce. Cook it on low for approximately six hours in the crock pot.

6. Nutty Tofu

Nutty Tofu is a protein-rich meal that’s cheap and easy to cook. The ingredients needed for this recipe are firm tofu, linguine, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, broccoli, and peanuts. If you like Thai cuisine, then you’ll probably love Nutty Tofu. It has that characteristic peanut taste.

7. Maple-Chili Glazed Pork Medallions

A cheap Southwestern-style dinner you can cook is maple-chili glazed pork medallions with southwestern calico corn on the side. It is easy and quick to prepare, only taking 20 minutes. You’ll need lean tenderloin pork, vinegar, apple cider, maple syrup, chili powder, salt, ground chipotle chili, and canola oil to cook Maple-Chili Glazed Pork Medallions.

Bottom Line

Cooking meals isn’t as expensive, difficult, or time-consuming as some think it is. Keep a recipe book of all the inexpensive meals your family gives good ratings on and always go to the grocery store with a list of what you need. Don’t buy things that aren’t on the grocery list.

Combining tips on preparing cheap meals with the actual recipes will deliver the best results in saving money on cooking for your family. The seven budget-friendly meals under $10 listed above are recipes that kids tend to enjoy. They are a good starting point for you in preparing quick, easy, and inexpensive meals for your family.

Which of these recipes are you excited to try? Do you know of any other good meals to prepare for kids that are under ten bucks? Let us know in the comments below.

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What to do with Extra Christmas Cash

You did it!

You stuck to your guns and your budget. In spite of shiny temptations and marketing tricks, you did Christmas on the cheap and saved yourself a ton of money.

Congratulations.

Now, what do you do with all the money you saved? 

If you have credit card or other debt, obviously pay that off first. If you live paycheck to paycheck, put it in a savings account for emergencies. Once those needs have been met, the possibilities for the extra money are exciting.


You could splurge on a family trip to Disney. Now, this doesn’t mean you can waste the money and pay full price. Plan your trip so you can take advantage of off-season prices.  Many hotels and airlines charge a premium for travel during school breaks and colder months. Consider bringing non-perishable breakfast bars and snacks to save money on food.  Search the internet; there is bound to be a blog dedicated to your vacation site with tons of information on where to get specials. You can also fund a plethora of websites offering coupons and deals on everything from car rentals and airfare to hotels and dinner.

You could be altruistic and donate the money. Non-profit organizations always need funds, especially in this economy. Toys For Tots is a charity run by the Marines and focused on giving new toys to children who wouldn’t otherwise have anything to open on Christmas morning. Your local Humane Society is another good choice. If you feel strongly, you can even use your thrifty savings to equip the Cruelty Investigation unit with much needed cameras, video equipment and first aid kits. Instead of donating the money directly to a charity right away, you can use it as seed money. For example, challenge everyone at your place of employment, school or church to donate to a specific cause and agree to match them, dollar for dollar, up to the amount of your savings.

Lastly, you could invest the money. Your IRA or mutual fund can always use a boost. If you have children or grandchildren, you can set the money aside in a number of education savings plans, like a 529 Plan. You can put the money in traditional savings account, buy bonds or even start a CD ladder. The choices are nearly limitless; just check with your CPA on any potential tax issues.

Your goal of achieving a debt-free Christmas was a success; just make sure the money goes to good use. Whether you buy something for yourself or invest in the future, enjoy your reward and know that Christmas really can be done, and done well, on the cheap.

Ways to Save Money on Gifts:

What will you do with your extra Christmas Cash?

 


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Plan Your Christmas All Year Long

For most families, the last 6 wks of the year are the most expensive.

From Thanksgiving through Christmas, all we do is cook and eat, visit and travel, spend and shop.

It can wreak havoc on an otherwise frugal budget! Many savvy moms budget for Christmas throughout the entire year, not just the last month.

The first step to frugal Christmas budgeting is to set aside funds each month for your Christmas shopping.  Open a savings account just for holiday spending. Set aside a small amount each pay period into a separate savings account and withdraw it just in time for a holiday gift shopping spree. If shopping all at once isn’t your idea of fun, you can set up your budget to allow for the purchase of a gift a month and just save each item until Christmas.


In fact, this also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of end of the season sales, essentially stretching your budget a little farther. This may also allow you to buy things you normally wouldn’t be able to afford. For example, you can scoop up warm winter blankets and coats for just a few dollars each in February and March. Retailers need to move seasonal merchandise out of the store to make room for spring clothing. Save the blankets until fall and then make a welcome donation to your local homeless shelter.

Storing extra gifts throughout the year usually necessitates having a gift closet. It can be anywhere, just as long as it is away from prying eyes. Be sure to include a stash of wrapping supplies as well. Wrapping paper, ribbon, cards, tape and gift bags all go on sale for next to nothing after Christmas and you can stock up for next year for cheap. Target lets everyone know that they sell items at 50% off the day after a holiday, 75% off after three days and 90% off after seven days. In fact, many shoppers are making purchases for next year when they shop the day after Christmas.

If you normally have a busy party schedule, this plan-ahead method can work, too. Use your gift closet to keep token, generic gifts for all those people that stop by with a “you-shouldn’t-have” gift. Candles, vases and fine stationary products all go on sale and all appeal to a wide variety of guests. You can also stop by the Godiva Chocolatier on December 26th (early in the day) to purchase boxed chocolates with holiday wrappings and decorations. They sell for half off and, if you are planning on visiting anyone between Christmas and New Year’s, make a perfect hostess gift.

Planning for Christmas throughout the year is easy of you have a flexible list and a sharp eye. Watch for sales and plan accordingly.

Ways to Save Money on Gifts:


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