When it comes to trying to get out of debt, I’ve seen and heard it all. From the person who gets three jobs to the guy who sold his dream car – just to make it all happen. It got me thinking – what are some of the craziest ideas out there to help you find your way out of debt?
I decided to make a fun post about the craziest ideas people have tried just to try to get their debts paid off. The funniest thing is that these really do work! Who knows? Maybe one of these will inspire you too!
50 IDEAS TO HELP YOU GET OUT OF DEBT
Things are that – just things. They don’t define us, and they don’t always make us completely happy. My husband and I sold so many items when we were trying to get out of debt that we were able to raise more than $1,000. The thing is – I can’t even remember what we sold (which proves that they were things we obviously did not really need). Here are some unconventional ideas of things you can sell:
1. Hair. This may sound bizarre, but people will pay for long hair! Crafters often use it for making dolls, so they will pay to buy it. You will need to have at least 10″ or more to sell, and the price will vary greatly. You can visit eBay to learn more and get started.
2. Toilet paper / paper towel rolls. Have you been on Pinterest and seen the number of craft projects which require a paper towel or toilet paper tubes? They are all over the place!
You can get onto local sites such as Wallapop, Craigslist or even visit eBay and list your products for sale. It may sound crazy, but it actually can work.
3. Gift cards. If you get a gift card for any reason, be it a return or even a gift, you can turn around and sell the card. You won’t get quite face value for it, but you also can at least get paid cold hard cash.
They don’t have even to have the full value on them. For instance, if you had a $100 gift card to your favorite sporting goods store, but you only have used $26.48, you can still sell your card, and another person can use the remaining balance.
4. Daily Deal vouchers. Did you buy a deal on LivingSocial and haven’t yet redeemed the voucher, you can sell it.
5. Sell things you don’t need. Use eBay, Craigslist or LetGo to sell the stuff you do not need anymore. Go through your home and decide what you need and what you could sell to raise some quick funds to pay off your debt!
These are things that just make sense and most people think about…but you may not have thought of every one of them!
6. Budget. Of course, it seems this should go without saying, but it is not always obvious. If you don’t have a budget, you have no control of your money. Learn How to Create a Budget.
7. Coupons. Start using coupons to save as much as you possibly can at the grocery store. Then, use the amount you save to pay towards your debt! Read more about How to Use Coupons.
8. Change where you shop. If you live near an Aldi, start to buy groceries there. Skip the clothing store and find consignment stores to find gently used clothes. Read more about How to Shop at Aldi.
9. No more dinners out. This is a tough one, but it works. Best of all, it’s not something you will have to give up forever! Just think, if you spend $100 or more a month dining out, that is more than $1,000 to pay towards your debt in just one year!
If you do have dinner out, skip the soft drinks and go for water instead, which is free! Make sure you also pass on the appetizers and consider splitting a larger entree to pay less.
10. Give up your expensive hobbies. If you are an avid golfer, you might give that up for some time and use the monthly dues to pay towards debt. Read some ideas for cheap hobbies.
11. Menu plan. By planning your meals, you not only know what you will have for dinner, but it also helps you plan your shopping trip. That ensures you have all you need on hand when you get ready to cook all of your meals – saving you from running to the store for that “one item,” which often leads to more. Read more about How to Create a Menu Plan.
12. Ask for rate reductions. Contact your creditors to see if they would lower your interest rate at all. This is not always something that works, but it is definitely worth a few calls to see if it won’t work for you. Learn the tricks to asking for a rate reduction.
13. Avoid paying monthly fees. If your bank charges monthly fees, ask them to waive them. If they will not, consider moving to another one which offers free banking. Even $5 a month is $60 a year that you are giving to them just to have your account.
14. Keep the change. I always use cash. I don’t even pay with change. If the total is $6.42, I hand over $7 and keep the change. I roll all of this once a year and usually have quite a nice amount saved up. Best of all – I never miss it!
15. Overbudget. This is a fun way to get extra money. We may budget $300 for groceries every two weeks, but I will do what I can to keep my shopping way under this amount. Then, I take anything left over at the end of that two weeks and save it (you could use it towards your debt). It’s a fun way to challenge yourself to see how little you can spend!
16. Change insurance. Make some calls to find out of you can get a better rate on your auto and home (renter’s) insurance. You can sometimes find a better deal by bundling or even by increasing your deductibles a bit.
17. Skip the evening movies. If you love to visit the movies, try the matinee instead! You can usually pay less by catching the afternoon show. Make sure you pass on the snacks, too, as those can add up quickly!
18. Don’t buy books. Instead of buying books, visit the library or get free Kindle books. No need to buy them at all, when there are ways you can get them for free!
These are ideas that do not work for everyone but have worked to help others get out of debt very quickly!
19. Stop retirement contributions. If you are in debt, you might want to take that 15% you were saving for retirement and throw it all towards your debt. As soon as you are debt free, you can start that contribution again (and maybe even do more than that to other accounts).
20. Cancel cable completely. If you really want to go drastic, you need to take all steps necessary to do so. Cable can run more than $100 (or even more than $150) per month. If you can cut out cable entirely, you might quickly free up $100 or more every single month!
21. Sell your car. If you are leasing a vehicle, that is a simple way to throw money away, as you will never own it. Turn in the vehicle and then take out a loan to purchase a much older car, where you will pay less per month. Best of all, you will own it in a few short years!
If you have an expensive vehicle, you can also sell that and then purchase an older car, which will reduce your monthly overhead (and possibly taxes and insurance).
22. Move. If you are renting or even if you own your home, consider downsizing to pay less each month. I know many people have opted to sell their home and use any income to pay towards debt, and then they rent until they are debt free. Then, they save to get the house of their dreams, which they can purchase debt free!
23. Turn off your home phone. This can run for $30 or more a month. Just use your cell phone and cancel your home service.
24. Downgrade your cell phone. Try to reduce the data you use to see if you can’t lower your monthly payment on your cell phone. Stick with your home internet for most of your data usage, and you can use your phone less and less and rack up the savings.
25. Swap services. Instead of paying for babysitting, exchange time with another couple. You watch their kids for free, and they can do the same for you. You might be able to swap your tutoring for haircuts or your lawn mowing for handyman repairs.
26. Make gifts. Instead of buying people gifts for birthdays and holidays, consider making them yourself. You could even offer a “service” gift where you will babysit once a month for a year, etc. Find a way to give from the heart instead.
27. Budget bill your utilities. If you can, arrange for budget billing with your services. This can make it easier to include your budget and will avoid those swings in the summer or the winter when certain utilities may be more expensive.
28. Drop the gym or country club. If you have a membership of any sort, just cancel it. If you work out at the gym, try to find free videos you can follow at home or create your own workout plan. If you like to golf, go with a friend instead of paying for your membership.
29. No more coffee trips. Make your coffee at home each morning and cancel that run through the drive-thru.
30. Take your lunch. It is great to go out to lunch every day, but pack your lunch, and you’ll ensure you eat up leftovers. Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll also save a nice chunk of money every month.
31. Carpool. Take turns driving to work and save money on fuel and also wear and tear on your vehicle.
32. Set up no spend months. This is a tough one, but see if you can go a few weeks without spending anything more than you need to survive. That means no dining out. No entertainment. No clothes. Just food and fuel, and that’s it!
This is a bit different than working from home. These ideas help you make a bit more money just doing things you might already do – like search the internet, shop, etc. These sites will pay you money to do just that. Then, turn around and apply anything you make towards your savings.
33. Swagbucks. Use this site to get paid for doing searches and other things you normally do online!
34. Sell crafts on Etsy. If you are good at crocheting, woodworking or anything at all, look at selling your wares on Etsy. It is a simple platform, and the costs are very low, which allows you to keep most of what you make from each sale.
35. Rent a room in your home. If you have a walk-out basement, consider renting out the space to make more money. Just check with your local laws and homeowner’s association to ensure this is allowed before you jump in to start this one.
36. Sell stocks. If you have investments, considering selling them and using the proceeds to pay toward your debt.
37. Give music lessons. If you know an instrument or you can sing, consider selling your time to help teach others.
38. Tutor. Find your expertise and teach others. You never know who you might be able to help!
39. Start a blog. You may not get rich with your blog, but it can turn into a nice stream of income! Learn more about How to Start a Blog.
40. Visit garage sales and upcycle. Find items very inexpensive at yard or garage sales. Put in some elbow grease, paint, and creativity and turn them into something you can sell for a profit. Check out flea markets and farmer’s markets for larger items and for places where you can sell your items.
41. Find holiday work. When the holidays roll around, many stores hire employees for a short 6 – 8 week period. Sign up and put in some extra time after your regular job and make some extra cash you can use to pay down your debt.
42. Become a mystery shopper. This is a great way to get some things for free. This is not a way to get rich but is an excellent way to get some of the things you need for free (which allows you more money to pay towards your debt).
43. Become an eBay master. Purchase items on clearance or at deep discounts and then sell them for a profit on eBay. You can still offer prices which are less than in the store, but more than you paid.
44. Ask for a raise. Don’t be afraid to ask for one. Make sure you share the additional work or responsibilities you’ve taken on as a reason why. Or, if it has been a while since you last had a raise, you can mention that too. It never hurts to try.
45. Sell an eBook. If you are an expert in any field, or if you love to write, create a book you can sell on Amazon!
While there are things that you can physically do to save or to make money, you need to get your brain into the right mindset too.
46. Make your goal visible. If you want to get out of debt so you can afford to save for a vacation, tape a photo of the destination where you see it each day. It could be on your office wall, bathroom mirror or refrigerator.
47. Learn to be happy with less. Sure, a new TV might be fun to own. It could be enjoyable to go out to dinner. However, do you need those things? Probably not. Find a way to be happy spending time at home spending no money at all, and you’ll realize how much those things don’t matter.
48. Learn to say no. You may need to tell friends you can’t go out to dinner. It may mean telling the kids that they can’t get that treat at the grocery store. You may need to say to yourself that you do not need to grab that afternoon latte. Learning to say no can easily keep more money in your pocket.
49. Give more. This may seem crazy, but it actually works. When you give more of yourself to others, you feel better. Best of all, giving is not always financial. It can mean your time or even your prayers.
50. Surround yourself with the right people. If your friends encourage you to spend money, then you might want to distance yourself from them (at least until you can get better control over your finances and self-control). Find other people who think like you do so that they can encourage and build you up.
There you’ve got it. Fifty ways to help get you out of debt! Which are you getting ready to try?