Welcome to our week-long series on crushing your credit card debt. In this fourth of five articles, we look at several ways to free up extra cash to put toward your credit card debt.
In yesterday’s article about using the debt snowball, we saw how even an extra $50 a month toward your debt can make a huge difference. Now it’s time to find that extra $50 (or more) in your monthly budget. And it’s easier than you might think.
Now before we get to the details, let’s look at the big picture. There are only three ways to free up more cash to put toward your credit card debt: (1) spend less, (2) make more, or (3) do a little of both. Of course, reading an article telling you to spend less or make more isn’t exactly helpful. So we are going to take it a step further and give you some practical tips.
I’m convinced that just about anybody can find an extra $50 by reducing expenses without changing their lifestyle one bit. I call it “painless ways to save money.” Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: Make a list of your monthly bills: Here we are not talking about money you spend eating out, grocery shopping, or filling up the tank. Instead, we are talking about money spent paying your monthly bills like your mortgage, rent, cell phone, Netflix, cable, and utilities.
- Step 2: Eliminate the cost: Once you have your list, go through your bills and ask if there is anything you can do without. Do you really need a land line when you have a cell phone? With football season just about over, how important is the NFL Network? Are you using your Netflix subscription, or has the last DVD you ordered been on top of your TV for 3 months?
- Step 3: Reduce your costs: For those bills you can’t get rid of, scrutinize them to see how you can lower your costs. Here are some examples:
- Refinance your mortgage: One of the easiest ways to save money, getting a lower rate on your mortgage can easily save hundreds of dollar a month. Knowing when to refinance will help you save the most.
- Lower your insurance premiums: It’s so easy to compare insurance online that there’s no excuse for paying more than you should. You can compare auto insurance, health insurance, and life insurance rates online in a matter of minutes.
- Combine cable, interest, and phone: We saved a bundle last year when we combined our communication services. Called a triple-play in the industry, every provider offers discounts when you bundle your packages.
- Slash Cell Phone Bill: Cell phone’s aren’t cheap and most of us just accept this. However, there are so many ways to cut down your bill and most of the time it just requires us to look at the bill. These bills are confusing and because of this it’s tempting to not even look at the bill. Here’s a few quick things you can focus on: compare the minutes you use to the minutes you pay for, look for things you already pay for elsewhere like Roadside Assistance of Phone Insurance, and look for mistakes like a text package on a line that doesn’t even text.
- Just ask: Ask your landlord to lower your rent. Ask your cable company if they have a better deal. Ask your cell phone provider if they can offer a better price. Ask your garbage collector for a lower price. Ask everybody you pay for a lower price. You won’t succeed in getting a better deal every time, but chances are you will end up saving money without sacrificing the service you receive.
For more ideas, check out 99 Painless Ways To Save. Most of us can save more money and this e-book teaches us how. There are simple things we can do to save that don’t require us to make significant changes. It’s packed full of tips and tricks to save money.
Getting another job might not be feasible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to earn some extra money to pay towards your credit cards. There are a variety of online tools to help you make some extra cash. Here are some ideas–
- If you don’t mind being a bit spontaneous and open-minded, then consider one of the many websites offer odd jobs. Many of these sites don’t require any special skills and you get to pick when you work. This makes earning money convenient and flexible to your already hectic schedule.
- Don’t forget about sites like Craigslist. I’ve made some decent money by selling unused cell phones, an old T.V., and an mp3 player. Just take a look around your house and find things you can live without or things you just don’t use anymore. It’s extra cash that can you can pay on your credit cards and you won’t even miss it.
- Start your own blog. It’s much easier than you think, costs very little, and the income potential is unlimited. These two articles will get you started: (1) How to Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps, and (2) A Beginner’s Guide to Making Money Online.
Tomorrow in our fifth and final article in our series on how to crush your credit card debt we’ll look at some common mistakes people make and how to avoid them.
Published or updated February 5, 2012.