How to Pay Off Debt Fast

by Ryan Yates

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  1. Live on less than you make, use the extra money to pay off debt.Β 
  2. Work your ass off to bring in extra income, use this money to pay off debt.
  3. Done

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin July 21, 2010 at

Short, sweet, and to the point. And the truth. Just the way I like it.

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Mike - Saving Money Today July 21, 2010 at

That pretty much sums it up! Simple, but not easy.

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Jan July 21, 2010 at

4. Use cash forever.

There are so many people who just don’t see that using credit for everything is insane.

I went into the grocery store the other day to buy three small items. The clerk asked me, “Debit or credit?” I handed her the cash and she looked confused.

Cash is weird nowadays.

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John July 21, 2010 at

Jan,
I am one of those people that who can’t “see that using credit for everything is insane.” While I don’t use a credit card for everything (some places still don’t take them), there is no harm if you control it, just like anything else. I have a $5000 limit on my credit card and haven’t paid a penny of interest in over 10 years on it (I am 32). The trick is to use it as cash, ie if you can’t walk in the bank and withdraw that cash, then you shouldn’t use your credit card either.

I feel using a credit card benefits me in a couple of ways. 1-I get 1% of my purchases back(not much but better then nothing). 2-I don’t have to carry cash or worry about finding an ATM that won’t charge me a fee. 3-it helps track all purchases (which helps when its time to go over finances with my spouse and get us on the same page). 4-it saves me time (don’t have to go into a gas station, don’t have to wait to make change).

So while there are definitely some people that go “insane” with credit cards to make a blanket statement like that is naive, as there can be some benefits.

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Jan July 21, 2010 at

I’m a recovering credit addict. I lied to my family about purchases and we got to the point where we could barely make the minimums. I am ashamed of my behavior. But I am finding that there are a lot more people who are like I was, then who are like you are.

I am glad you are strong, but for me, I have to just say no to credit.

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Benjamin Bankruptcy July 23, 2010 at

Hey John if you’ve never paid a cent in interest your not really “using credit for everything”. You’re using your credit card as a transactional facility.

I think the phrase use “credit for everything” implies that you don’t have the savings to pay it off.

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John July 23, 2010 at

Benjamin,
I certainly am using credit. Regardless of when on pays it off, there is still a line of credit extended, I just choose to pay it off before I am charged interest. Should I ever choose not to pay it off for any reason (loss of job, unexpected expense, memory lapse) I would still have to pay interest. And last time I checked its called a CREDIT Card not a transactional facility card.

I might agree that the phrase “credit for everything” implies that you don’t have the savings to pay it off – if it were a stand alone thought. However, the next paragraph stated that ‘The clerk asked me, β€œDebit or credit?”’ To me that extra thought implies the use of a credit card.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 21, 2010 at

@Jan

Adding number 4 will work for some people but not others. Keeping with the 3 simple rules leaves it up the person to figure out any other method they would like to add. Since credit cards help to put me in debt I completely understand how you feel about them. I do not use credit cards and haven’t since May 2008, but I understand why people use them (at least those that read this blog and other PF blogs). I don’t see myself using them again any time in the future though.

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Suzanne July 21, 2010 at

It’s that easy! Great advice for all!

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Jeffrey Kosola July 21, 2010 at

@Kevin @Mike @Suzanne – When I was young my Grandpa tought me about the KISS system. I can’t think of any other simpler way to write about getting out of debt. The bonus is that I didn’t need 1500 words to say it πŸ™‚

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Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black July 21, 2010 at

HA-HA-HA-HA! Love this!

“And now… any questions?” πŸ˜‰

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My Personal Finance Journey July 21, 2010 at

I agree with John – if you know you can control your credit card spending to the level that you will not rack up any debt, then buying everything with a credit card benefits you. For example, my credit card gives me 5% cash back on rotating categories of items (this month, it is groceries). So, by spending money, I make a little back.

I also feel inclined to add that having friends close to me that don’t live outside their means has definitely helped me to reduce my debt.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 21, 2010 at

@John and @My Personal Finance Journey, I’m glad you are disciplined enough to manage your cards well, many people aren’t. Some people have got into trouble with them in the past (including me). I’ve learned that it’s not the card or the credit company that put me in debt, it was my actions and behaviors. I can still feel the sting, but I understand how it happened. I may not use credit cards, but the bonuses look very tempting πŸ™‚

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Kaye July 21, 2010 at

Love it!

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Jeffrey Kosola July 21, 2010 at

@Jolyn @Kaye I love when people use the word “love” in their comments. Thanks Ladies

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Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog July 21, 2010 at

Easier said than done, but it’s basically that simple.

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Jeffrey Kosola July 21, 2010 at

@Jeff if it was easy then I wouldn’t be blogging about it. If it was easy then debt con companies wouldn’t make millions. To bad it is so damn hard πŸ™‚

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Tina August 8, 2014 at

That’s not even 10 minuets well spent!

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Jan July 21, 2010 at

For me, getting out of debt is easier than weight loss was. And more successful.

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Que July 21, 2010 at

You were a little wordy with this one. I have broken this down into a few days of reading. I will make a comment when I am finished.

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myfinancialobjectives July 21, 2010 at

I love this kind of post, great idea! Not to mention I agree with you 100% on all points. I just finished my application for a second job at Carmax an hour ago:)

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Jenn July 21, 2010 at

John, I’m with you. For folks who aren’t temped into bad behaviour by credit cards, they are a wonderful tool. I also pay for absolutely everything possible on my card. We normally do all our erands on the weekend (usually that just means groceries and gas) and the charges post to the VISA online site over the next few days. Our insurance and utilities also automatically charge to the card. I wish the city would allow us to charge our monthly property tax installment to the card, but so far no luck there. Every Friday I pay off the account compelely. I know I don’t have to but I like to keep on top of it and it’s easier to align my actual spending with my planned spending for the week if I never have to update more than a few rows on the spreadsheet at a time.

I normally organize my shopping so I don’t have to go to the grocery store for a couple of things, but if I do, you bet I’ll slap that $10 on my card. That’s 15 more miles toward our next trip. Our card earns flight rewards – our family of 4 is off to Europe again this year on flights earned by paying for my standard groceries, gas, insurance and utilities and any incidental purchases with the card. My husband also travels once a month for work, and adds to the flight rewards account. A trip we took to Europe before we had this card cost us nearly $5k in flights. Now we earn enough for the four of us to fly to Europe every other year, just for spending exactly what we spent before.

For those who don’t trust themselves with credit cards, I understand their position, and respect the fact that they are acknowledging that they need to avoid them. I do feel badly that they are missing out on the benefits of using them as a profitable tool. I understand the mentality of using credit cards as a way of funding a purchase you can’t afford on that day. I tend to think of them that way also. I use a credit card, but I think of it as a debit card with a 5 day delay rather than immediately pulling the cash from the account. I buy my groceries on the weekend and pay on Friday. It never enters my mind that I won’t be paying for the groceries a few days later.

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OdysseusToday July 21, 2010 at

The Golden Rules of Finances. If Americans could just learn to follow step one there would be abundance for all, but to many of us get sucked into trying to live the life we can’t afford yet.

Great reminder of the basics.

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Benjamin Bankruptcy July 22, 2010 at

Huh that was succinct. Maybe that should be tattooed on everyone in credit counselling:)

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Money Reasons July 24, 2010 at

Where is the fluff? πŸ™‚

Yep, you nail it with this post, that’s all it really take!

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Walter July 26, 2010 at

The methods you’ve stated are really simple yet hard to implement. I think it is our will to break free that shall truly deliver us from our debts. πŸ™‚

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crystal_cai December 19, 2011 at

wow!!! ilove this site..very useful, informative..its in my favorites now..thanks Jeff,continue to inspire others..from Cebu,Philippiness. here^^

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autoscout24 ch May 10, 2013 at

Whats up! I simply want to give an enormous thumbs up for the
great data you’ve gotten right here on this post.
I will be coming again to your blog for extra soon.

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