If you’re facing a wagonload of debts, what’s the worst thing you can do? It’s simple. The worst thing you could do is ignore them. You might act like an ostrich and stick your head in the sand – at least figuratively speaking – but that’s no solution. You might want to ignore your debts but your creditors won’t. The more you try to ignore them, the worse things will get.
The first thing that will happen if you try to ignore your debts is that you’ll begin receiving calls from debt collectors. And these will not be fun calls. Debt collectors are generally paid on a commission basis. If they can’t collect from you, they won’t earn much. This makes them highly motivated to use any and all possible tactics to get you to pay off that debt.
The two sides of the coin
There are really only two ways to pay off debt. You can find ways to cut your spending and use the money you free up to pay down your debts. Or you could earn more money and use it to pay them off. Actually the people who are the most successful in paying off debts usually do both. If you can’t or aren’t willing to cut your costs, there are ways you could earn extra income and here are nine of them.
- Get a second job
- Make money online
- Sell crafts or vintage items on Etsy
- Do odd jobs
- Sell stuff on eBay
- List services and sell stuff on Craigslist
- Build an online store
- Change your withholding
- Get a seasonal job
Getting a second job
Of all these alternatives, probably the best and fastest way to pay off debt is by getting a second job. There are certain industries such as food service and hospitality that almost always have part-time jobs available. As you might guess, these are not high paying jobs. In fact, most of them pay something in the area of $10-$12 an hour. That may not seem like much but if you were to work 20 hours a week at $12 an hour, you would gross $240 or $960 a month before taxes. Assuming that you would net about $800, you would be able to pay off $9600 of debt in a year or $19,200 in two years. This means that if you owed $20,000, you would be essentially debt free in 24 months.
Making money online
Have you ever thought about Internet marketing? There are people making six figures a year (or even a month) doing just this. If you’re smart and were just a little bit lucky you could be earning $1000 a month in just a few months by doing what’s called affiliate marketing or by creating and selling your own information products online. Spoiler alert – many people have spent years trying to master Internet marketing and have never succeeded. If this interests you, you need to study the subject extensively and not just put up a website and expect to be generating hundreds of dollars in just a few weeks.
The new big kid on the block
If you’re good with crafts you should sell your items on Etsy. It’s become the new big kid on the block over the course of the last year as more and more people have turned to it to sell handmade and vintage items. Plus, Etsy charges just $.20 to list an item for up to four months and takes just a 3.5% commission if it sells. It is now a community of 15 million creative businesses and buyers. It offers a number of different promotional tools that could help you get an abundance of new customers. In addition, vintage items only have to be 20 years old so that 25-year old table lamp sitting in your garage could actually be worth real money.
If selling handmade, crafty items interests you, here’s a short video about making money on Etsy.
Don’t forget the other side of the coin, which is to find ways to save money and pay off your debt. When they put their minds to it, most people can find ways to cut their food costs by 50% or better. What’s the secret? Use coupons. Become an astute coupon collector and you might be able to get $100 worth of groceries for $20 or less.
How much are you spending on entertainment? This is another area where most people can easily cut costs. Do you have cable or satellite TV? There’s really not much of a reason to have either of these. You could get most of your television programs and movies downloaded to your computer and streamed to your TV using services such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon prime and Hulu. For that matter, Google recently introduced its new product called Chromecast. It costs just $35, plugs into any HDMI port on your TV and enables you to stream Netflix, YouTube and Google Play content from your PC to your TV. Google says that it’s negotiating with other providers and will soon have even more content available via Chromecast. If that’s not enough, you can probably get your local TV channels free through the air. All local stations are required to broadcast digital, high-definition programming that you could pick up simply by buying an inexpensive antenna. This would get you all of your local news as well as all network programming –free.
Where else could you make cuts?
The list of categories where you could reduce your spending is probably as long as your arm. In fact, there may not be a single category where you couldn’t make cuts if you put your mind to it. But that’s the secret. You need to review all of your spending with an eagle’s eye. Do this and you should be able to reduce it by at least $200 a month without breaking a sweat.