How to Get Out Of Debt (Even On a Lower Income)

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How do I get out of debt? This is a question many people have. The reason plans fail is due to a failure to plan.

Learn How to Get Out of Debt - Even on a Lower Income. Even if you do not make a lot of money, you can still dig out from under your debt.

I am sure many of you have heard, or read, some of those inspiring stories about families who were on a single income, but somehow managed to get out of debt.  Their story builds you up, as you can see yourself in them, but yet, you don’t do anything yourself.  As much as you would love to get out of debt, you just do not see how that is a possibility.  It is just not something you can achieve.

Or is it?

My husband and I were living on one income when we decided it was time to get out of debt.  It took us nearly 2 1/2 years, but were able to pay off more than $37,000 in debt.  There are countless other stories of our readers who have paid off similar amounts in even less time.

I am here to tell you that you CAN (and should) get out of debt – no matter how little money you may make!!

How is this even possible?

I am going to share the steps anyone can follow to learn how to actually get out of debt – no matter your income level.  If you struggle to make ends meet, you already know how to make the most of a dollar and I’ll give you additional tips so that you can actually pay down that debt.

I have asked this on Facebook all of the time and some of the comments include:

“There is no way I can do this. Not with my medical bills.”

“Sure, that only works or some people – not me.”

Many of you may be I thinking similar things and I completely understand that way of thinking. I was there myself and know that it seems like an unattainable goal.  That is why you are reading this right now – to find out how to make this dream a reality.

Debt is NOT a Good Thing.
If you are in debt, it could be because of a your own decisions or even those you can’t control (such as health, job loss etc).  No matter how you got into debt, you need to get rid of it. Period.

The reason you need to eliminate your debt is that it truly is holding you back. How can you move forward financially with debt in your way?  If you found that you needed to buy a new car, you would find a way, correct?  For most, that would probably mean an additional monthly payment – but you would do it because you needed to.  You need to look at debt the same way:

“Getting out of debt is not a desire – it is a need.”

”‘GettingClick To Tweet


4. Find extra money

Before you jump in to try to pay off debts, you really need to have savings.  The reason is that if an emergency comes up, you need to pay for it – in cash.  You do not want to run to your credit card to cover the expense.  It is really best to have at least $1,000 in the bank before you get started.

So, before you jump in to pay off those debts you listed above, make sure you’ve got money in the bank to cover your unforeseen expenses but Creating an Emergency Fund.

Once you have that done, then you are going to have to find a way to squeeze everything you can out of every cent.  For some it may mean no longer dining out.  For others it could be shutting off cable.  Where there is a will, there will always be a way to make this happen.  You just have to do what you can!

I share this true story in our budget post, but I’m putting it here again for you!  My husband and I gave up dining out. No joke. We ate dinner out very infrequently.  While I look back and think it might have been once every couple of weeks, I asked my husband recently and he said that we were lucky to eat out once a month! It was so difficult, but now that we’ve cut down out all of our debts, we have income freed up so we can have dinner out more frequently (if we so desire).

For even more inspiration and ideas, you may have to find some radical ways you can get cash to help you get out of debt.  Do whatever it takes (legally and within reason, of course), to help you get out of debt.

Read More:  60 Creative Ways to Save or Make Money


5. What if I’ve Saved All I Can – But that Still Doesn’t Help?

To be totally honest, if you are struggling to make ends meet on a low income you won’t be able to just cut enough out of your budget to pay off your debt.  Like my mom use to say – “You can’t get blood out of a turnip” – which basically means if it isn’t there – there is nothing you can do about it.

That is the truth and I’m not trying to lie to you. I am realistic and know that if you are making barely enough to cover your expenses, you won’t have any extra money for your debt.  I get that.

You can’t save enough money on your budget to totally eliminate your debt.  Well, I guess you could, but that is going to take a very, very, VERY long time.  So, what do you do when you’ve saved all you can and still can’t pay off your debts?  Well, you just have to get creative.

For some this may mean finding items that are no longer needed which you can sell to raise money.  When we did this step, we had the same issue.  We could not really cut anything more from our budget.  For us, this meant selling items we no longer needed. We did a huge clean out and got rid of furniture and other things we were keeping “just in case.”  By doing this, we were able to come up with several thousand dollars — 100% of which went immediately towards our debt.

If that isn’t an option, you might want to consider getting a second job or side business to bring in income to truly help you get out of debt.  We also did this. I started my website.  Now, let me be Frank in saying that this is not a great way to make money.  Most blogs make little to nothing in the first couple of years.  I was lucky and we did pretty well and I was able to bring a bit more each year – all of which helped us to pay off our debts.

It may not be a blog, but perhaps babysitting, or cleaning houses, raking leaves, shoveling snow — there are all sorts of ways that you can make money.

Read More:  Unique Ways to Make Money From Home


Now is YOUR Time to Start!

My hope is that you have read through this entire post and realize that you really can do this.  You know that it is truly possible to get rid of debts – you just have to make a change.

It is not the income that is really holding most people back, it is the understanding and knowing even where to start.  You might have to scale back on various spending aspects of your life, but when you get to scream from the rooftops — WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!! — it will be worth it all.  I promise you!!!

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  1. Beth says

    Good advice. I got myself out of 34k in credit card debt and paid off my car in a little over 2 years, living alone, one income with a huge mortgage to pay on my house. My credit rating stayed very good as I was never even late on any payments. I analyzed my spending first and found that the majority of my credit card debts were from those “unplanned but sure to happen” emergencies (tires, hot water heater, etc) and my emotions that told me that I worked hard, so I could buy this or that. The debt had built over years and had become a noose around my neck and shackles on my body. Recognizing my tendencies, the FIRST priority was, as you say, building up the emergency fund. How wonderful it feels to have an “unplanned but sure to happen” expense come up and pay for it with cash AND not have it affect your monthly budget. I did the snowball plan and plotted my total debt on a graph each month. What a thrill to see that graph line drop (not so much at the beginning, but then it drops significantly each month). This was about 15 years ago and to this day, I do not have debt-except a small mortgage payment. The money management I learned by coming out of what seemed hopeless debt are hardwired in me. It truly seemed at the time that I couldn’t do it, but if I can, others can!! Make that commitment and DO it! Give yourself your life back!!

    • Tracie says

      Congrats to you for your hard work! And yes – living a life without debt is such a great feeling!!

  2. says

    When you are neck-deep in debt, you may feel that getting out of it would be next thing to impossible! But when you have the will to level up and pay your debts, you would always find a way.