10 Ways I Paid Off $100k Of Debt – In ONLY 3 Years
I paid off slightly over $100k of debt from opening a new business in only 3 years. Today I’ll share the strategies I used to pay off the debt as fast as possible.
Paying off 6 figures of debt can feel like an impossible task and in no way was it easy but, it’s absolutely possible.
I was strategic in my approach and I hustled my ass off to accomplish ridding myself of the debt. Smart financial decisions go a long way and combined with commitment and a work hard mentality I was able to make large payments and destroy the debt in 3 years.
Here’s How I Did It:
1. I Refinanced A Line Of Credit With A Loan
Refinancing a line of credit to a loan allowed me to accomplish two things. Saving money on interest and having a loan with a fixed repayment period. Having a fixed loan term meant set payments each month and I knew exactly when the loan would be paid off. No fluctuating interest rate or monthly payments.
If you find yourself in a pile of debt, whether it be credit cards or a line of credit a personal loan can be a game-changer. Decent credit is going to be necessary (above average is 650+) and you always want to consider the interest rate. You can check your credit here for free.
It’s worth looking into a loan if you’re working on a plan to become debt-free.
2. I Used Tools To Get Money Back For Every Purchase
I obviously wasn’t spending a lot of money because then I’d never get out of debt. However, we all have to spend money to live. When I did have to spend I’d make sure I found a rewards program that would give me money back on my purchase.
Rakuten (formerly known as eBates) and Swagbucks are my go-to sites when buying anything online. I recommend installing the extensions on Chrome, makes it seamless to see which one offers a better rebate. To date using Rakuten has earned me over $600 cash back.
When grocery shopping I used different apps to get money back. If you do this you have to make sure you’re still only buying what you need. Don’t make a purchase just because you have a coupon. Using a coupon to buy anything that isn’t on your needs list isn’t saving!
A couple of new apps have come out since I embarked on the paying off debt journey and I talk about them in my best apps to save money on groceries article. To this day I use every single app I discuss.
3. I Used Cash Back Credit Cards
I have two credit cards and continued to use them while I was paying my debt off. Now, if you’re in debt because of misusing credit cards and still don’t understand how to responsibly use them I do not recommend doing this. Many financial experts suggest anyone who has credit card debt should cut their cards up and I don’t disagree with that.
Personally, I wasn’t in debt because of abusing my credit cards and find them beneficial for multiple reasons. If you have learned how to responsibly use them and can do so without going further into debt then, by all means, do it.
The first reason I continued using two credit cards I have is cash back. You can earn anywhere from 1% to 5% cash back depending on what type of card you have and then there are times where there’s extra cash back in a certain category.
For example, one of my cards is 1.5% cash back on all purchases but, each quarter they have certain categories that are 5% cash back. Fuel is consistently in the category for an added cash back percentage. Between that and my Upside app it’s a lot of dough to get back when I fuel up. Get Upside using my promo code and get an extra 20¢/gal cash back on gas on your first fill-up!
The second reason I like to use credit cards is protection. In 2010 I had identity theft and my actual bank account was drained. Using credit cards gives you peace of mind and a buffer. It’s very different to have some jerk put fraudulent purchases on your credit card vs. the money coming straight out of your bank account.
4. I Got Paid To Take Surveys And Watch TV To Pay Off Debt
Yes, it is true that you can make money online taking surveys and watching TV. That said, you’re not going to earn thousands every month but, when it comes to paying off debt and doing it fast it’s about the big picture.
You might as well earn a few bucks each evening while you’re sitting on the couch. $50 here, $25 there all thrown at your debt keeps chopping it down!
5. I Started A Blog
Blogging is something I already knew how to do for real estate and have been since 2010. I started AmandaDavidsonOnline.com last year and it without a doubt contributed to paying off my debt.
If you enjoy writing or are good at it and have a niche you’re passionate about blogging can be very lucrative. The important thing to know is it’s not going to make money for months maybe even years. Writing is an escape for me and I still don’t make a ton of money from my blog but, I enjoy it. You can learn more about how to start a blog here.
If you’re committed to providing useful information and take the time to learn about SEO you can be very successful. Check out Tailwind as an additional way to drive traffic to your blog through Pinterest.
6. I Started A Business
In addition to my blog and the real estate brokerage I opened, I also started a side hustle business selling anti-aging hair care products. This wasn’t really planned, it happened because I was using the products on my own hair and saw the results that were promised. It’s easy to talk about and share a product you love.
I mention that because if you already use a product and believe in it this is an excellent option to generate more income.
Commit to spending an hour a day working on your business and sharing your products and you will see results. Again, this was something I could do anytime and that was important when making the decision on what to do to make more money to pay off my debt.
7. I Sold My Stuff To Pay Off Debt
This should be (hopefully) obvious for anyone who is paying off debt. If you have stuff sitting in your closet, around your house, in your garage, basement, wherever and you haven’t looked at it or used it in 6 months, SELL IT! You are not going to miss it and that is money just sitting around that you can use to pay off debt.
None of us needs 4 pairs of jeans, 15 t-shirts, 10 pairs of shoes etc.
At any given time I have a couple of listings on eBay and Poshmark. These days it’s not my extra crap, it’s things I’ve bought to flip. The thrift store and yard sales are gold mines when it comes to buying low and then being able to sell high.
8. I Ate Out Less – WAY Less
Eating out is a luxury and quite frankly a big drain on your bank account. A little lunch here, a nice dinner there and $100’s out the window every month.
I’m not saying never eat out but, be smart about it. Eat lunch out instead of dinner and have water. Ordering drinks at a restaurant is extremely expensive and not just alcohol. That goes for soda, tea and juice too. I cut down to eating out once per month and saved over $300 per month by doing so.
My husband and I even started doing happy hour at home. Music on the TV, no phones and a couple of drinks while we sit at the kitchen table. It felt even better because we knew it was saving money to pay off debt.
9. I Got Rid Of Cable To Save Money and Pay Off Debt
I wish I had done this sooner. We don’t watch a lot of TV and when we do it’s the same channels. Enter HULU and we are saving $95 a month by getting rid of something we really weren’t using much of anyways.
Cable is also a luxury. A needs vs. wants analysis is revealing when you are paying off debt. Now that the debt is paid off we aren’t going back to cable either. I don’t miss it one bit and while we lost a couple of the channels we liked it was well worth the savings that came from a teeny tiny bit of sacrifice.
10. I Lived Like I Was Broke To Pay Off Debt
For me being in debt does mean I’m broke so that’s exactly how I lived.
I limited going out with friends to birthdays or a life event. It didn’t make me the most popular person and some have just stopped asking me to go out but, I’m ok with that. Paying off debt and keeping up with the Joneses don’t mix. Your financial goals come first.
When I had the urge to buy something I asked myself if it was going to get me closer to my goal of being out of debt. If the answer was no (and it was 99% of the time) then I took the money I was going to spend on something I didn’t need and made an extra payment towards my debt.
Instant gratification and a feeling of happiness knowing I just got one step closer to being debt-free.
Getting out of debt is not easy. Anyone who tells you it is is full of crap. It takes hustle, creative thinking, and cutting back. Do all of those things and you will be successful in paying off your debt. I still live like I’m broke, it became addicting and seeing my savings and retirement build is rewarding.
Think of all the things you can do with your money after you pay off debt and use that as motivation!
What are you doing to pay off your debt?
In the next 24 hours, I challenge you to take action and do one thing to pay off your debt. It can be anything. List something for sale, make a payment towards your debt, examine your budget, or take a side job. ANYTHING! Paying off debt is a long process and there is no time like the present to start!