Everyone wishes to say goodbye to their loans as soon as possible. Since you’re here, you probably don’t enjoy debt either.
Here are 12 ways to pay off your loans faster. Combine as many of them to get amazing results.
1. Track Your Spending
It’s crucial to know where your money is going. Spending mindlessly can only get you further into debt.
Once you see it all in black and white, you’ll notice all those unnecessary expenses that you can cut out. We’re talking multiple subscriptions, spending too much on services and goods, wasteful habits, etc.
Once you know where to trim the fat, you will have a clear picture of how much more could go towards repaying your loans.
2. Create a Budget
Budgeting is the most important skill you’ll ever learn. Next to emergencies, lack of budgeting skills is one of the biggest reasons you can’t pay off loans faster.
Creating a spending plan will keep you on track and ensure you spend less than you earn. And you have so many ways to do it. You can try making spreadsheets, the envelope system, an app, or maybe even see if your bank offers budgeting tools in its e-banking package.
3. Pay More than the Minimum
Meeting your minimum debt payments is keeping you afloat, but it’s doing nothing to get you closer to your goal. Makes sense, right? But let’s take this to the next level.
Some of your lenders may offer benefits to those who pay more than the bare minimum. See what’s available to you, as well as what you can negotiate.
But even if you don’t meet the threshold where you gain access to those benefits, try to get into the habit of paying at least a few bucks more each month. Most of that minimum payment actually goes towards the interest and fees, so it will take you forever to get out of debt if you’re only making minimum loan payments.
4. Pay the Most Expensive Debt First
This doesn’t mean paying off the biggest loan, but the one with the highest interest rate. Make minimum payments on all the rest, but get rid of this bad boy first.
High-interest rates are only slowing you down when trying to reach your financial goals. Paying off your most expensive debt will give you more resources to tackle the others.
5. Consolidate the Loan
If your interest rates are all over the place, and if you want to get a better deal or make things easier, consider debt consolidation. This means that all your loans become one, and possibly you will end up with a better interest rate as well.
Contact your bank or credit union to see if they can help. Also, you can check out other financial institutions that offer this service, but do your comparisons and read the fine print.
6. Speak with a Credit Counselor
This is a free service you can get from non-profit credit counseling organizations, so why not do it?
A credit counselor will inform you which debt repayment programs are available to you and which strategy makes more sense for your situation. They can even tailor a detailed plan and give you additional advice on money management and building up the credit score. Some counselors can even negotiate better interest rates for you or reduce monthly payments.
7. Get a Second Job
This is not an easy recommendation to make, but if you have a lot of debt, you need to think about this option seriously. And you don’t have to find a whole new job or a side hustle, you can always pick up extra shifts at your daytime gig. If you can monetize possessions, property, hobbies, or other skills, consider turning them into a source of income.
Getting that additional money allows you to off those loans aggressively. To make things easier on yourself, you can always use 10-20% of that extra cash to treat yourself for being responsible and doing a great job (while the rest is repaying your loans).
8. Be a One-Car Household
Two cars equal two insurance payments, two visits to the gas station, two trips to the mechanic, etc. If possible, get rid of one of those cars, since that will make the biggest difference in your monthly budget.
In fact, rethink what type of car you’re driving.
9. Pick a Good Used Vehicle
The second you drive a brand-new car off of the lot, it loses up to 20% of its value. If you try to resell that same car a few years down the line, you can get back 25-30% of its original value at most.
Picking a well-maintained, used vehicle makes more sense (especially when you’re in debt). Resist going for vintage models though, since they will come with high fuel costs. Cars made in the last decade or so are more fuel-efficient and that will save you extra money.
Just do your research before you go shopping, so you don’t end up with a lemon.
10. Cut Food Spending
Many people spend too much money on groceries and dining out. Just choosing to cook from scratch 5 days a week could cut your food budget in half.
You’re probably also spending too much money at the grocery store. Picking store brands over name-brand items will save you a lot of money. Plus, the same factory makes them, anyway. Also, remember that convenience is pricey, so stay away from ready meals, pre-chopped fruit and vegetables, canned beans, etc.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Extreme Couponing, you were definitely amazed by the savings. Though those results require a lot of work and dedication, you can still save a lot of money, even with a casual attitude.
Check your receipts and the local newspaper regularly for coupons and promotions. You can also find several apps that apply coupons automatically for you when you shop online.
12. Try Minimalism
Minimalists rarely own anything they don’t need or love. You don’t have to get rid of all your earthly possessions (though, sell all the junk that’s only collecting dust and get some extra cash that way), but you may want to explore this philosophy.
Try to adopt minimalistic principles next time you want to spend some money. When you start questioning this purchase, you may find out that you don’t need to spend money at all. The money you can save from being a minimalist will surprise you, how it could be a great help for you to pay off loans fast.