No matter what type of debt you have, it’s crucial that you get out from under it as quickly as possible. Having debt is like carrying extra weight on your shoulders that lowers your overall quality of life. Whether you’re about to retire or are starting to think about it more seriously, you’re going to need to make sure your finances are stable so that you don’t end up running out of money.
If you’re not sure where to get started, here are three effective things you can do right now to help pay off debt quickly.
1. Don’t put off creating a budget
Many older adults weren’t taught how to successfully manage their money in school and have had to make it up as they go. Consequently, learning how to create and stick to a budget isn’t second nature, and it only becomes more overwhelming the older you get. Instead of avoiding budgets and thinking you’ve been fine without one, it’s time to accept that you weren’t given the proper tools and start again.
Creating a budget doesn’t mean going without. So many people are afraid that budgeting means giving up their daily coffee run or monthly shopping spree. The truth is that budgeting is far from that; all a budget does is an account for your spending habits so that you know you have enough money to cover them.
If you love Starbucks, great! Create a Starbucks category in your budget and allot a certain amount of money to it every month. The same goes for any other expense, whether it be a hobby, utility bill, medical expense, gas, etc. The sooner you sit down and figure out where your money goes, the better off you’ll be at digging yourself out of debt.
2. Create multiple streams of income
Thanks to the Internet, there are hundreds of ways each of us can make extra money. Stop relying on one paycheck to cover all of your spendings because that puts you in a dangerous situation. How would you support yourself if that paycheck went away?
Start looking into leveraging the experience you have in an industry for more income. You can do part-time consulting or gig work on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. You can also create digital e-books and guides for purchase that can become entirely passive income.
If you don’t have any skills that can be leveraged, consider using marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, Poshmark, or the hundreds of others out there to sell merchandise. Whether you want to flip antiques from estate sales or sell your crafts, there are dozens of buyers out there looking for what you can offer.
3. Consolidate your debt
The more places you need to send payments, the more difficult it will be to get rid of your debt. If you’re able to, consider getting a credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer and transferring as many outstanding debts to it as you can. Personal debt consolidation loans can also help bring all of your outstanding debt together into one monthly payment. Having fewer bills will help reduce your overall debt accounts and ensure you don’t ever forget a payment deadline since you’ll only have one or two to remember.
Getting out of debt means understanding the way you spend money and correcting past mistakes. You may feel it’s difficult since you’re older, but that’s not the case. Give a few of these tips a try and start slowly. By starting with one step at a time, you’ll create better spending habits and ensure that once you’re out of debt, you stay that way.