7 Tips to Get Out of Debt

Is debt weighing you down? It doesn’t have to for long. We have the top seven tips to help you get out of debt the fastest.

1) Make more than your minimum payment on your credit card

For instance, say you have a $1,500 balance on a modest 14.99% APR card, and make $100 in new charges every month. If you made only the minimum monthly payment of $125, it will take you more than 10 years to pay it off. However, if you pay a bit more at $174 per month, you can have that debt paid off in only 2 years . That’s quite a difference.

2) Pay off your highest interest-rates cards first, then move to the next

By paying as much as you can on your highest interest rate card first and making the minimum on your others, you’ll save money in interest charges in the long run. After you’ve paid off you highest interest-rate card, move to the one with the next highest interest-rate, and so on until you have them all paid off.

3) Call your creditors and ask for a lower interest rate

Surprisingly, this can work if you can give your creditor a good enough reason for doing so.

4) Make a budget and stick to it

Sit down with your bills and figure out how much you owe each month, how much you need for expenses (like food), and how much you have coming in. Figure out where you can cut corners in your current spending to make the numbers match.

5) Revisit your childhood days and bring your lunch

If you don’t have a meal plan, consider packing your lunch for the day instead of eating out. If you’re a coffee drinker, invest in a re-usable travel mug and make your own coffee at home rather than paying $4 a day for your latte.

6) Get a part-time job or increase your hours

Even an extra 3 hours a week at your current job may pay your cell phone or electric bill. If you don’t have a job, check out campus employment to see if there are any jobs that fit well with your major or interests. Or, try to get a job where you usually socialize and spend money, like the coffee shop (this tactic will not only make you money, but keep you from spending money too!).

7) Leave your credit cards at home

If you go shopping with your friends or just want to see the latest arrivals at your favorite boutique, leave your cards at home. You can always come back if there truly is something you can’t live without. Also, never buy anything you didn’t intend to before you left home. Impulse purchases can add up in a big way.

In his 40-plus-year newspaper career, George Morris has written about just about everything -- Super Bowls, evangelists, World War II veterans and ordinary people with extraordinary tales. His work has received multiple honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press and the Louisiana Press Association. He avoids debt when he can and pays it off quickly when he can't, and he's only too happy to suggest how you might do the same.