How To Get Out Of Debt Fast (No Matter Your Income)

Pay Off Your Debt In Easy Manageable Steps, Even With A Low Income

Getting out of debt is difficult and not particularly fun, especially if you are broke or have a low income. You may even be under the misconception that some debt you have is “good” debt and everyone has monthly payments.

What if I told you this simply isn’t true?

Hundreds of people started out right where you are but now live a debt-free lifestyle with less stress and worry.

In order to build wealth, you need to be able to harness the power of your paycheck. The first stop along the wealth-building pathway is to pay off your current debt.

If you like the idea of getting out of debt but are concerned that you don’t make enough money to make a dent, I’m here to tell you that anyone can get out of debt as long as they have a plan.

Follow these easy steps to get in control of your money, pay off debt, and build your family’s wealth.

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Step 1:  Face Your Debt

I’m going to use some behavioral psychology for a minute.  If you put a half-hearted effort into something, you’re likely to get a half result.  

People who accomplish things usually put all their attention and effort into that one thing.  In order to pass a class, you have to focus on that class, study, and understand the topics.

Getting yourself out of debt is the same.  If you don’t want to continue to repeat the same cycle of spending more than you have, you must focus and understand why it is happening.  

Vow For No More Debt

I want you to do something for me.  

Go find a mirror.  It can even be your phone’s selfie camera.  I don’t care.

Look at yourself and say “I will get out of debt NOW!”  

Vow to stop living beyond your means and mean it.  Make this promise to yourself.

Promises to yourself are the most important kind.  If you can’t even keep your own word, how is anyone else supposed to trust when you promise things to them?

Tally Your Debt Amount

Another important part of facing your debt is knowing how much you actually have.  Not a guestimate or an “idea” of how much; the actual number.

Write all debt down. You can’t dig yourself out debt until you know exactly how much you have.  

During your debt payoff time, you need to stop accruing additional debt.  This means no credit card usage right now.

Step 2: Use The Sprinting Cheetah Method To Pay Off Debt

Ok, so my background as a zookeeper influenced me on this.  

Do you know how cheetahs can go from 0 to 60mph in 3 seconds?  That’s how fast I want you to pay down your debt.

No “I’ll do it later.”  

Guess what?

Later always comes and you’ve still not hit the ground running.  

I want you to start off committed and chasing after the end goal – being debt-free.  

To do this, you need to optimize every penny to tackle debt.  

To get to top Sprinting Cheetah debt payoff speed, you’ll need to incorporate the following:

pay off debt like a sprinting cheetah

All four of these action points, when combined together, will maximize your debt payoff speed from 0 to 60mph. Most of them can be done with little effect on your day to day life.

1) Trim Spending On Items You Can Do Without 

  • If you have multiple streaming service subscriptions, evaluate whether you need all of them.  The same goes for any memberships to gyms and monthly box programs.
  • Decide if you love it and you do get value from the subscription, then keep it but if you don’t, it’s time for it to go.  

2) Negotiate Everything  

If you have a good credit score and a history of paying on time, call up your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate.  

✅ Become a pro at negotiating & find the confidence to negotiate everything.

Use the length of your relationship and history of being a good customer to your advantage.

  • Remember: Getting clients is expensive!  Companies spend millions of dollars on advertising. It’s cheaper for them to keep you as a client rather than trying to get a new one who pays a slightly higher interest rate.  

Credit card rates aren’t the only thing you can negotiate.  Look into student loan payment rates and any services you use at your house.  This can include utilities and insurance.

Many companies offer new customers great introductory deals.  Call them up and mention how money is tight but you’d like to stick with their company. Ask them what they can do to lower your bill so you don’t have to switch to their competitor who is offering a great deal to new customers.  

Most of the time they’re going to offer you something. If they don’t, end the call and call back another time. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get the same customer service representative.

If you’re still getting nowhere, it may make sense to actually switch to the competitor for their introductory deal as long as you aren’t going to have to pay an early cancelation fee with your current plan.  

3) Sell Items You No Longer Need

Most Americans have a lot of stuff.  

Take a look at all of the storage unit buildings around.  The storage unit industry makes $38 billion dollars every year!  Yes, BILLIONS to store stuff people aren’t using.

Funny thing is that I never see people at the units accessing their stored items….  

Platforms like Facebook Marketplace, LetGo app, and Craigslist make it super easy to find someone who wants what you have.  

The place people get hung up on with selling is that they expect to get close to what they paid for it.  

This just isn’t going to happen. Even if you hardly used the item, the chances of you getting anywhere near what you paid for are slim.

Instead, realize that you no longer need the item and sell it at a price that someone will pay.  

  • If you aren’t sure what price to list your item, do a search for similar items and take note of their condition.  Always lower the price if it hasn’t sold after a week.

You’d be surprised what people will buy used.  I once moved into a house that had a pile of leftover bricks in the corner of the backyard.  These bricks probably hadn’t been touched in years.

I listed them on Craigslist (with a crummy photo) at a super cheap price and made sure to say that they would have to haul the bricks away without help.  My inbox was overflowing with interested people!

I’ve found baby items and electronics tend to sell the quickest so perhaps start with those.

4) Pick Up A Side Job

To really kick your debt payoff into a full cheetah sprint, an extra source of income is a must.  

The great thing is that your side job doesn’t have to be this formal, time-consuming hassle.  You could offer to do side-jobs on NextDoor app or walk a neighbor’s dogs.

These types of side jobs give you a ton of flexibility to schedule around your life.  Other jobs, such as waitressing, may allow for you to pick up solely weekend or holiday shifts.

Related: Amazing jobs you can do at home (even with kids at home)

Choosing The Debt Snowball Or Debt Avalanche

The Debt Snowball (Dave Ramsey’s method) and the Debt Avalanche are two of the more popular methods of debt paydown.

Both methods will have you finish paying off your debt around the same time so it’s more of how your mind works.

Debt Snowball Explained

With the Debt Snowball, you list all of your debts individually from smallest to largest. The interest rates on the debt don’t matter.

You pay minimum payments on all debts except the smallest balance. You put any extra money towards that smallest debt until it’s paid.

Once its paid, the money that was going towards the smallest debt now all goes toward the second smallest. Your freed up money snowballs so by the time you get to the largest debt, you have a lot of freed up money to attack it.

The psychology behind this method is that by paying off the smallest debts first, you feel like you’re accomplishing something which fuels you to continue going.

The small debts act as a positive reinforcer and build up momentum as you get to the more daunting larger debts. This is a behavior-based plan since it was your behavior that got you into debt in the first place.

Related: This program uses the Debt Snowball and is great for couples.

Debt Avalanche Explained

With the Debt Avalanche, you list all of your debts individually by interest rates. The highest interest rates are at the top of the list regardless of the amount of debt.

You then pay minimums on everything except the debt with the highest interest rate. Like the snowball, once a debt is paid off you use that money to go towards the next debt on the list.

This method is more logic-based. If you pay off the higher interest rates first, you’ll end up paying less in interest overall.

Step 3:  Create A Budget/Spending Plan

No one likes creating a budget.  Budgets sound restrictive and like they’re going to nag you about the $8 you spent on a burrito.  

Spending plans allow you to spend.  That’s what money is there for; saving, spending, or giving.  I’d argue that allocating money towards saving or giving IS spending it.  

Once you’ve faced your debt and you’re cheetah sprinting towards debt payoff, it’s time to make sure you know where all of your money should be spent.  

Related: Learn how to easily create a budget that WORKS.

You’ll still need to set limits to how much you can spend in each category, but this needs to be guilt-free. You will not stick to it if you feel guilty about spending money.  

Sure, your savings account will grow faster if you instead put that $8 in your savings account but satisfaction and quality of life matters as well.

While paying down debt, I wouldn’t allocate hundreds of dollars towards eating out and fun money, but a small amount will make sticking to your plan easier.  

✅ To help stay on plan, use these to keep track of your various spending categories.

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Step 4:  Reassess The Plan Every Few Months

Let me tell you right now, you won’t get this right the first try.  It will take a few months to get your spending plan to the proper levels in each category.  

Guess what?  That’s completely normal.  You haven’t failed.

Getting your money under control takes a change in your mindset.   You may think you can live with cutting out 90% of your eating out when in reality, perhaps you can only cut out 75%.  

As long as the money is available in your spending plan, it’s alright. Move allocations around until you find something that works.  

Sticking With Debt Payoff

The above steps can be gone through fast or slow. It all depends on where you are in your journey.

Unsurprisingly, committing completely and implementing the Sprinting Cheetah Method will maximize your debt payoff and get you debt-free quicker.

Keep in mind that it’s alright to reassess your spending plan and put more money into certain categories if you’re finding it too limiting. The main goal is to set up your plan so that you stick with it.

Let me know where you are at in your debt payoff journey in the comments below.

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Steffa Mantilla round headshot
Steffa Mantilla

Budgeting & Debt Payoff Expert

Steffa is the founder behind Money Tamer. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. Steffa’s background in operant conditioning and behavioral husbandry has given her an understanding of motivation and motivators. She uses this training to help people understand the reasons “why” behind their money behaviors and how to successfully change them. You can learn more about her here.

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How To Get Out Of Debt On A Low Income

2 thoughts on “How To Get Out Of Debt Fast (No Matter Your Income)”

    1. That’s great to hear! You’ve already done the first step, which is to resolve yourself to taking the steps to get out of debt. If you start now, you’ll be so surprised how far you’ve gotten in a few months.

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