Looking for some ideas for speeding up debt reduction and increasing savings?
1. Gather all of the coins that you have in your house, your car, your golf-bag, and your purse, take them to the bank and send an extra payment to your creditor. I’ll bet that most folks have over $20 in change just sitting around the house, doing nothing. Put that money to “work”! If you have kids, they’ll have a blast counting out all of the various coins and sorting them into little piles. Many banks will sort your coins for free.also offers a coin counting service, but may charge a service fee. Also, many local retailers will exchange paper money for coinage.
2. Brown-bag your lunch and send in a $5 payment. I’m serious. When I was getting out of debt, I would use my online bill-pay to send in $5, $10, and $20 payments. I’m a BIG believer in making multiple payments per month and whenever I have a chance to save money, I immediately send an extra payment to a creditor (or send an extra deposit to my savings account). You’ll be AMAZED at how quickly those micro-payments add up. Think about it: $5 per day for 30 days is $150!
3. Scrounge around in your closets for items to list on eBay. Books (especially religious books or textbooks), DVDs, and kids’ clothing have always been big sellers for me. Uncomfortable using eBay? Consider having a yard sale. For one day’s work, you could net $100, $200, even $500! Don’t tell me that you have “nothing” to sell!
4. Are you paying for monthly, recurring entertainment expenses? Think about canceling your DVD subscription service or getting rid of those premium channels. You don’t have time to watch television! Why? You’re too busy looking for ways to make more money and get out of debt!
5. Turn of the lights. Seriously, your mom was right! When you walk out of a room, flip the switch. Same thing goes for turning off the water while brushing your teeth.
6. Look in your closets. See any items with tags? Have you worn these clothes? Are you going to wear these clothes? No? Take them back to the store where you bought them, get a refund, and send the refund to your creditor.
7. Do you own something, like an old automobile, a collection of plates, or a painting that might be “worth something”? If the item in question has little or no “sentimental value”, consider selling it at auction or on eBay. When I was getting out of debt, I realized that I had an old lawnmower that was just sitting in my garage, gathering dust. I sold it to a dude down the road, made a few bucks, and reduced my debt.
8. Mid-way through a “budget-cycle”, examine your spending and make sure that you are “on track”. Do you see a category that you’ve over funded (like eating out or groceries or miscellaneous)? Use that money to build savings or reduce debt. Remember, when in “debt repayment mode”, every dollar that is not needed for necessities is potentially available for debt repayment.
9. Call your credit card companies and request that they lower your interest rates. Call cell phone providers, cable providers, and Internet providers and ask for customer-loyalty discounts. Seriously, just go make the calls!
Now that I’ve given you a few ideas for speeding up your debt reduction, spend 15 minutes thinking about ways to reduce your spending or increase your income. Could you find a second job, work more hours or ask for a raise? Do you have something that you could sell? Are you paying for goods or services that you never really use? Think, think, think! What small (or big) thing could you do today to decrease your debt and / or increase your savings?