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How To Find Money To Pay Off Debt

Feb 28, 2008
One of the biggest challenges that many people face when trying to pay off debt is finding money to apply towards their debts. In order to pay off your debt, you have to pay more than the minimum payment, but this can be hard to do when you're having trouble just making ends meet each month.

So where can you find additional money to apply to your credit card debts each month? Here are several ideas:

Tax refund: Do you typically get a large tax refund each year? If you do, then you can apply part or all of the refund to your debts. In addition, you should adjust your withholding so that less taxes are withheld from each check; you'll get a smaller income tax refund, but you'll have more money to apply towards your debt payments each month. The last thing you want to do is give Uncle Sam an interest free loan when you have high interest credit cards!

Savings: Nobody wants to cash out their savings account to pay off credit card debt, but when you have credit cards that are costing you 18% or more in interest each month and your savings are only earning 4% (or less), it just makes sense to use some of your savings to get rid of that nasty credit card debt.

Bonuses, raises and overtime: Anytime you get a raise, bonus or earn overtime, you should use at least a portion of that money to pay towards your debt. Since this is "extra" money that you didn't have before, you shouldn't miss the money that you put towards your debt.

Part time or temporary work: If you're really in a debt bind, consider getting a part time, seasonal or temporary job. It doesn't have to be forever, just long enough to pay off or at least make a dent in your debt.

Sell things: Another option is to sell things to raise money. Have a yard sale or sell items no longer used on eBay. Sell books that you no longer read on Amazon or http://Half.com. You'll be surprised at how much some items will sell for on an online auction!

Borrow from family and friends: Everyone hates to ask family and friends for money, but if you're in over your head and you have family members in a position to help, this is an option you shouldn't ignore. If it helps, you can draw up a written agreement so that each party knows what to expect, and there's no chance for disagreements or hard feelings down the road.

Borrow against your home equity: This is not an option to take lightly. Yes, you can reduce the interest you are paying on your debts significantly by taking out a home equity loan, but remember that your home is at risk if you are unable to make the payments for any reason. Choose this option only if you are 110% sure that you can continue to make your payments, even in the event of a job loss or other emergency.

Reduce spending: Although listed last, this is probably the first strategy you should take to find extra money to pay off debts. You should review your spending to see if there are any areas that you can cut back on to generate additional cash to be applied towards your debt. Some typical areas that can be cut back on, at least temporarily, to help pay off debt include food (both groceries and eating out), entertainment (gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, cable, internet, trips to the book store) and personal care (haircuts, clothing, housekeeping, etc.).

These are just a few suggestions on how you can find money to help pay down your debts quicker. There are hundreds of other ways you can find money to use towards your debt if you are motivated to look for them.
About the Author
Does credit card debt have you stressed out? Learn how to get out of debt and on the road to financial freedom at http://www.livingdebtfree2008.com Kristine A. McKinley, CFP, CPA, teaches individuals and families how to invest and plan for retirement, college, and other financial goals. Kristine offers financial and tax planning on an hourly, fee-only basis. For more personal finance tips, please visit http://www.moneywisecoach.com
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