Whatever the amount (a couple hundred, a few thousand, or even more), being in debt can be terrible. And while you may feel you’re the only one carrying the stomach-sinking, mind-gnawing burden, trust that you’re not alone. So many of us are saddled with debt — 38% of Americans carry some kind of credit card debt and there are 43.3 million Americans with student loan debt — it’s not something to be ashamed of. But it is something that you should want to fix. That’s because when your debt has high interest rates, you pay even more money over the life of your debt. The average American pays over $6,000 in interest each year. I can think of so many better ways to spend that money!
Unfortunately, there’s no easy cure. Last spring, freelance writer Catherine New shared the inspiring story of how she paid down over $30,000 in credit card and student loan debt in less than five years. Commenters asked that we create a how-to guide to paying down debt, and here it is.
I teamed up with Refinery29 financial expert Priya Malani to create a completely unsexy, totally tough-love guide to paying down your debt. The tips ahead aren’t fun; to aggressively pay down your debt, you have to make some big sacrifices. It’s up to you to determine what you’re willing to give up. Even if you just pick a few of these tips to try, you’ll put yourself on track to make bigger payments and become debt-free faster.
Ordinarily, Priya recommends her clients at Stash Wealth put 20% of their after-tax, take-home pay toward debt. The advice ahead helps you rethink your spending so you can start paying off even more. With the right tools and a positive attitude, you can totally get out of this. Let’s get started, shall we?