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If you’re deep in Baby Step 2 and laser-focused on getting out of debt, you’ve probably had a few moments of feeling like you hit a wall. Maybe you’re thinking you should be making better progress. You’re exhausted, and you feel like there isn’t anything more you can do to become debt-free.
Don’t worry if you’ve run out of ideas—that’s what we’re here for!
1. Start couponing. You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times—but are you doing it? You can save a ton of money just by showing a coupon to the cashier. Just be sure you’re using coupons for products you already buy, otherwise you could end up overspending on items you’ll never use. That’s how you end up with 10 bottles of spicy mustard sitting in your pantry.
2. Try consignment shopping. Let’s be real, kids grow out of clothes at the speed of light. It’s not worth it to go into debt for your two-year-old’s wardrobe. Check out consignment stores that sell pre-loved, good condition outfits for your kids. If you’d rather shop online, no problem. Sites like thredUP and Swap.com are great resources to get adult and children’s clothing at a fraction of the cost.
3. Cut cable. Welcome to this millennium, where you can watch most of your favorite shows online. If you haven’t bitten the bullet yet, do it! Put that $100 cable bill toward your debt each month and watch how quickly your debt snowball moves.
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4. Stop going out to eat. We get it—going to a restaurant or hitting up the drive-thru is so much easier than cooking at home. But while you’re feeling the freedom of not having to cook, your purse strings are in a pinch. For a creative way to still socialize and share a meal, have friends over for taco night instead of meeting up at a restaurant.
5. Break up with your barista. If you don’t know where all your money is going each month, we’re pretty sure your favorite coffee shop can locate it for you. Brewing your own coffee at home is a simple way to save money fast.
6. Visit the library. Remember libraries? They have plenty of books and DVDs you can borrow for free! Your wallet has never loved movie night more than it does now.
7. Plan your grocery trips. Make a list and stick to it! Use a calculator while you browse the aisles to make sure you’re sticking to your budget. Do impulse items always end up in your cart? Try ordering your groceries online and then picking them up curbside at the store. Oh, and don’t shop on an empty stomach!
8. Learn to say, “No.” Learn it. Make it a new part of your vocabulary. Love it. Embrace it. Because when it comes to spending money, you’ll be saying it quite often.
9. Tell the kids you’re on a budget. When it comes to money, the kids can be a worse guide than your stomach. Be open with them about what you do and don’t have room for in the budget. And remember: Never be afraid to use that magical “no.”
10. Avoid expensive hobbies. Do you really have $200 a month to spend on golf? Are you serious?
11. Ditch the gym membership. You can still go for a run outside—for free.
12. Sell items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Dig through your kids’ rooms and the abyss of your closet to find things you can part with to make some quick cash.
13. Start a side gig. Starting your own business has never been easier! Do you have a knack for making things? Sell your product online! Animal lover? Take up dog walking or pet sitting. Have a good eye and a nice camera? Start taking on clients for photo sessions. Christy Wright’s Business Boutique is a great resource to walk you through the process!
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14. Sell the car! The average car payment is more than $400 per month. Just think how much faster your debt snowball could move if you applied that $400 to it each month?
15. Cut up your credit cards. Shred ‘em. Burn ‘em. Shoot ‘em. You’ll never get out of debt until you stop making debt a way of life.
16. Use the envelope system. When you pay with cash, you actually have to feel your money leaving your hands. Ouch! And people tend to spend less when paying in cold, hard cash.
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17. Stop investing. Yep, you read that right. And yes, we even mean stop contributing to your 401(k). Right now, you want all your income going toward getting out of debt. Once you’re debt-free and have saved three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund, then you can resume your contributions. By then you’ll be in Baby Step 4 and can start putting 15% of your income toward retirement.
18. Use your tax refund to pay debt. Don’t buy new furniture. Don’t buy the latest gadget. Put that big vacation on hold. The beach will still be there next summer, we promise.
19. Ignore your broke friends. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses! Remember, you’re living like no one else now, so that later you can live like no one else! In 20 years, you won’t have a financial worry in the world while they’ll still have car loans, mortgages and credit card bills.
20. Make a budget! Budgeting should be easy and—dare we say it—fun! Focus your money on what matters: day-to-day spending, knocking out those pesky debts, and building wealth. Learn more about EveryDollar, our free budget tool.
21. Listen to The Dave Ramsey Show. Every day, Dave helps millions of people across the country find hope and make a plan for their money. Listening to the show will encourage you when you feel like aren’t making progress.
22. Give more. Wait a minute—give more? Yes! Giving changes your spirit. Make giving a priority in your budget and you’ll see a difference.
23. Ask for a raise. Why not? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
24. Get a part-time job. Why not become a driver for Lyft or Uber? Or take on a pizza delivery job? You can even deliver other types of food in your spare time by working for places like uberEATS or Grubhub. Sure, you’ll have to put aside your pride and give up some nights and weekends of downtime. But that’s a small sacrifice for extra cash in your pocket.
25. Lead a Financial Peace University group. Leading a group of people on their journey to paying off debt is one of the best ways to stay gazelle intense! Not to mention . . . you’ll help change someone’s life.
There you have it—25 ways to breathe fresh air into your debt-free journey. Try a few of these tips and see if they work for you. When you hit a wall, just keep working the plan! Continue to chip away at that debt snowball. Over time, your dedication is going to pay off!
If you’re just starting out on your journey to being debt-free, you need a plan! Dave’s best-selling program Financial Peace University has helped nearly 5 million people get on a plan to pay off debt. It works! Get started today!