Paying off large debts usually requires a long-term game plan. But just a couple of easy steps can help you pay off your smaller debts in a short time frame. Want to buckle down and eliminate debt quickly? Here are nine ways to pay off your debt in 30 days or less.
PAYING OFF DEBTS FAST
1. Set a realistic goal
Most people can’t reasonably expect to quickly pay off a mortgage or new car loan. To eliminate debt in 30 days, you’ll need to pick the one you can realistically pay off. Look for a small credit card balance or a loan that’s approaching a zero balance.
2. Use the ‘snowball method’
With the snowball method of debt repayment, you focus on paying off your smallest loans first, working in order of smallest to largest. You make minimum payments on your other debts, and make larger payments on the smallest debt until it’s paid off. Successfully paying off a smaller debt will provide you with a psychological boost and free up a little extra monthly cash to put toward the next smallest debt.
Another strategy is to focus on debts with the highest interest rates first, as that will save you more money in the long run — though this strategy is a longer-term debt repayment method.
3. Go on a 30-day spending diet
Just like extreme food diets, spending diets are tough to maintain for a long time. But slashing your spending for 30 days is achievable, and you’ll free up extra cash to put toward your debt.
Analyze your current budget and spending habits, and look for every opportunity to cut expenses. You could cook all your meals at home instead of dining out, watch Netflix instead of going to the movies or take public transportation instead of driving or hailing cabs. At the end of the 30 day period, all the money you saved should be put toward your debt.
4. Stop using your credit card
If you’re trying to pay off a credit card balance in 30 days, it’s common sense to temporarily stop using it. But you should avoid making too many purchases on any other credit cards you own, or you’ll end up with a different credit card balance to pay down. This philosophy applies to other debts, too.
Once your credit card is paid off, you may be tempted to close it. But unless you can’t trust yourself to responsibly manage your credit card, you’re better off leaving it open to boost your credit score. (Here are 7 other credit myths, debunked.)
Remember, the best way to use a credit card is to only make purchases you can afford to pay off in full each month.
5. Find extra sources of income
Finding an extra source of income for at least 30 days can help you earn cash for debt repayment. You could teach music lessons, tutor kids, mow lawns or drive for Uber. All the extra income you earn should go directly to your debt.
Looking for some extra income ideas? Check out our list of ways to work from home.
6. Redeem your cash back
If you have a stack of points or cash back rewards in your credit card account, now could be the right time to redeem them. You may be able to put your rewards directly toward your credit card balance, or cash out the rewards and use the funds for debt repayment.
7. Make extra payments
This may sound obvious, but you should consider making extra payments throughout the 30 day time period as cash flow allows. Saving up your extra cash for 30 days for a one-time payment leaves you at risk of spending it elsewhere. Instead, make payments as soon as extra cash comes in.
8. Get a debt consolidation loan
Debt consolidation loans can help you roll multiple debts into a single, manageable loan with a potentially lower interest rate. It’s a good strategy if you have trouble keeping track of your payments, or have several high-interest debts. This may not help you pay off your debt in 30 days, but you could get a lower interest rate and zero out your balance with your current creditors.
9. Open a balance transfer card
If your current credit card’s interest rate is making it difficult to pay off, you may want to consider a balance transfer card. Balance transfer cards will let you transfer your existing credit card balances to a new card with a lower interest rate – many cards offer 0% APR for introductory periods of 12 months or more. This strategy also might not allow you to pay off your debt quickly, but you will eliminate the balance on your high-interest cards.
Want more ways to save up to pay off those debts? Here are 25 ways you can start saving right now.
By Brian Acton, Policygenius. This article originally appeared on Policygenius.