Hey. I bet you’ve clicked on this page because you’re sitting on a MOUNTAIN of debt.
Feels like you’ll never get rid of it right?
It’s holding you back, you’ve tried everything, and you’re just SICK of it.
That’s where I was a few years ago. I wanted to get rid of it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and you know what? 3 and a half years after I made that commitment, it was gone. Today, I’m going to tell you how I did it. I’ve broken it all down into a simple three-step formula. That’s right, THREE STEPS. No matter how much, or what type of debt you have, this formula WILL work for you! Want to know more? Keep on reading!
How to Pay Off Debt Quickly:
Well, as I’m sure you know, there seems to be a plethora of different debt repayment options, each more confusing than the next!
It can be super overwhelming to try and figure out the ‘right’ one for you! Today, I’m going to make it easy. There are 3 steps to debt payoff:
Pick a SYSTEM. Make a plan, and STICK WITH IT
1. Pick a SYSTEM
Keyword here, SYSTEM.
Don’t just throw random extra money at your debt and expect it to go down.
Think strategically and use a systematic structured approach. Now, I know that seems totally boring, but hear me out!
As an example, the systems I like to recommend to my clients are:
The Debt Snowball, The Debt Avalanche, or paying off by Emotional Debt.
(Don’t ask me why half of them are based on winter, I didn’t make the names and winter is terrible!)
The Debt Snowball:
This is a method where you pay minimum payments on all of your loans except the one with the smallest balance.
Once this is paid, you roll that payment into paying the next debt, and so on.
It’s really good for people who need a quick win.
If you’ve been in debt forever, and are really frustrated with having a lot of different things to pay-off, this might be good for you.
It really helps to mentally see the quick progress with this strategy!)
The Debt Avalanche:
With this method, you pay minimums on all of your loans except the one with the highest interest rate.
When that debt is paid, you roll the payment into the next highest interest rate, and so on.
This is the ‘cheapest’ way to pay off debt.
Using this method, you’re going to spend the least amount of money in the long run.
This is a lesser known system. Not a lot of people suggest or use it, but I think it’s extremely important not to forget the EMOTIONAL side of money.
If you have a debt that has a lot of emotional baggage, like if you made a really stupid money decision and every time you look at that bill it brings you to a bad place, you’re going to want to pay that off first.
It’s important to prioritize your mental health.
Even if this debt has the lowest interest rate on it, and there are other debts that will ‘cost you more’, THIS is the debt that’s taking up the most mental space, and that’s worth something too.
*Note: Pay your minimums with this method as well!
Now, I mentioned interest rate in a lot in that last little bit, and I’m sure some of you know what that is, but let’s just back up a second just in case you’re sitting here thinking ‘this is a foreign language to me and I’m lost!’
Whenever you borrow money, there’s an interest rate associated with it (usually represented as a percentage).
It means you’re paying back the balance of your loan, PLUS whatever that agreed upon percentage is.
So, the lender is making money because they’re getting back what they borrowed and more!
So, for example, let’s say you have 3 debts.
A car loan with a balance of $2,000 with an interest rate of 7%
A student loan with a balance of $10,000 and an interest rate of 5%
A credit card with a balance of $7,000 and an interest rate of 19%
If you chose the Snowball Method, you’d pay off the car loan first. This has the smallest balance.
If you chose the Avalanche Method, you’d pay off the credit card first because it has the highest interest rate.
If you chose the Emotional Method, the interest rates or balances wouldn’t matter.
You’d payoff whatever debt gave you the most emotional turmoil.
The important thing is that you’re tackling your debt in a systematic and structured way.
If you don’t take a look at interest rates, or balances and are just trying to throw money wherever you think it fits all at the same time, it’s going to take you a LONG time to get out of debt (and that’s if you even get out)!
The most effective way to pay off debt is to concentrate on one debt at a time.
Pay your minimums, and concentrate on tackling a single balance.
Once you start getting rid of your debts, you can roll your payments into the next debt and therefore pay off things quicker and quicker as you move forward.
2. Make a Plan
You’ve picked your system of repayment. Now what?
Now, you have to figure out how you’re going to make that happen! Take a look at ALL of your finances, your expenses and needs, and figure out where you stand.
Is there any money leftover from what you’re spending now? Or do you have to make some lifestyle changes to make that happen?
Once you figure out what you’re working with, you’re going to be much more prepared to actually implement the debt repayment system.
*If you’ve never made a budget before, here is my video on Making Your First Budget. Make sure to watch this if you want to know how I suggest doing this!
Don’t be afraid to play around with the numbers either.
Here’s a great debt calculator I use: https://www.debt.ca/calculators/debt-repayment-calculator try putting in different payment amounts just to see how things would work out.
Play around with your budget numbers too, see if you can squeeze out some more money by making certain lifestyle changes.
The point is not to cut everything, or completely change everything about how you’re living (I actually suggest against that!) but just understand what choices your making with your finances so you can see what is important to you.
For example, let’s say you have a weekly ‘drink night’ with your coworkers, and spend approx. $40 every time you go out.
This means you’re spending $160 a month.
Maybe you’re super committed to your debt payoff, and decide not to attend those drink nights while you’re paying off debt, OR, maybe you still want that bonding time so want to see what it would look like if you only went once a month, or twice a month instead of every week.
You’d still have the social interaction, but on a smaller scale so it can be a little more balanced.
You really just have to take a look at where all of your money is going, and what you VALUE.
Make sure you’re giving yourself some grace in your lifestyle, not everyone can cut every single thing, but if getting out of debt is important to you, then keep it a balance.
Really take a strong look at how you’re actually going to implement that payoff system and what type of lifestyle changes you’re going to be making.
3. STICK WITH IT
The third step in debt pay off is to STICK WITH IT.
THIS is where most people get frustrated.
The hardest thing with debt payoff is consistency.
Give yourself some motivation to stay committed, print out a picture of an amazing vacation you’re going to take when you’re out of debt, or a home you want to buy, whatever. Stick it on your fridge, or somewhere you look every day.
Set motivation reminders in your phone like “Keep Going!” and “You’re doing great!” (Seriously. It sounds stupid, but if you make ‘little events’ in google calendar with messages to yourself in 3 months, or 6 months, you’re going to forget you wrote them and they’ll come up exactly when you need them the most!)
And make sure you are reassessing. It takes a really long time to make a routine stick.
Especially when you’re trying to make financial changes, or lifestyle changes, it can start off really great, and then all fall apart in 6 months.
DON’T GIVE UP. Reassess instead. Making a mistake in this does NOT mean it’s not working.
Keep with your foundations, stay with your system, stay with your plan. You might have to take a look at the plan, and move some things around that aren’t working, but if you’re honest with yourself, you’re going to find something that works.
Even small progress is progress and I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up. They think if they’re not paying thousands of dollars towards their debts it’s not going to go be ‘good enough’.
But even if you’re eating away at that mountain with a plastic spoon, eventually you’re going to eat the whole thing.
Be committed. Be consistent.