When you’re looking at your bank account every month and going, “Where am I going to find more money?”, tackling credit card debt can feel like being asked to climb Mount Everest in a summer jacket.
The conventional wisdom in personal finance is that Canadians should try to avoid carrying credit card debt as much as possible. But in practice, paying those debts down to nothing is easier said than done.
If you’ve been wondering how to pay down a debt, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are 4 ways that you can pay off your credit card debts quickly even if you have little to no financial wiggle room.
#1: Sell Your Unused Stuff
Are you a sucker for hair and skin products? Are you the type of person who just can’t pass up a good bargain?
According to the 2018 Kijiji Second-Hand Index Report, 85% of Canadians participated in the “second-hand economy” in 2017. According to the same report, people were able to earn $1,134 on average from selling their used items.
Going by those numbers, if you have unused stuff sitting in your garage or your closet, you could be sitting on a massive payday without even knowing it.
#2: Buy Your Junk Food at the Grocery Store
Statistics Canada observed that as many as 54% of Canadians eat out more than once a week. The number of Canadians who didn’t eat out in the month prior to the survey? 8%.
When you’re in the middle of a gruelling week and in the mood for a bit of comfort food, it can be tempting to order takeout. And while there’s nothing wrong with having junk food on occasion, $10 here and $20 there can go a long way towards paying down an outstanding credit card debt.
One practical way to avoid paying for last-minute fast food meals is to keep a few tasty dishes in the freezer for those moments when the cravings strike. It’s a compromise that allows you to get all the convenience of low-effort, “throw it in the oven” weekday pizza while the money that would normally be spent on fast food is used to pay down the credit card debt.
#3: Get a Second Job
It seems like a lot of financial advice revolves around saving every penny and counting every dime. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a frugal approach to life, there is another option for achieving your financial goals: make more money.
Depending on where you live that might be easier said than done. The pandemic alone has left a lot of people scrambling to find one full-time job. Never mind picking up another one.
But even before COVID-19, remote jobs and digital entrepreneurship were exploding on the internet.
From freelance writing to transcription, customer service, and virutal assistant work, there are plenty of work-from-home opportunities available to Canadians. And best of all, you don’t even have to work a full-time second job. Even a couple hundred extra dollars every month can go a long way towards paying down a credit card debt.
#4: Consider a Consolidation Loan
One way to stretch your debt repayment dollars a bit further is through a consolidation loan.
The word “consolidation” may sound a little bit complex, but really it’s just a fancy way to describe a loan that allows you to pool, or consolidate, your debts into a single payment that you owe to one creditor. This can be a really good way to take the solid financial advice of reducing your interest payments.
This allows you to make a single monthly payment while avoiding the whole, “Do I have enough money for this bill before my next paycheck?” account shuffle. And on a month-to-month basis, it’s easier to stay on top of your finances when you have less dates to remember.
According to the Government of Canada, Canadians owed $1.77 for every dollar of income they earned in 2019. So if you happen to fall somewhere in that category, there’s nothing to be ashamed of because you’re more than likely in good company.
Fortunately, even if you’re running a little low on cash, we just listed four ways that you can pay down credit debt even if you have no financial wiggle room. So take a deep breath, stay calm, and see what you can start working on right away. With a little patience and creativity, being free from credit card debt is definitely more than possible.