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15 Smart Strategies to Help You Pay Off Debt Fast

Advice from Taylor of Imperfect Finance on how to pay off debt quickly! These are some creative and smart strategies to help you get your money in order.

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onomy.co x Taylor of Imperfect Finance

Taylor is a 20-something personal development and money blogger from Jacksonville, Florida. She paid off $60k of student loan debt in 4.5 years and now loves to help others grow and improve both personally and financially.

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So, you’re trying to pay off debt? First of all, you’re awesome. And second, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve curated a list of 15 super smart strategies that you can use (starting today!) that’ll help you make some extra cash to put toward your debt. It doesn’t matter how much debt you are trying to pay off – these strategies are sure to help you put a good chunk of change toward your debt again and again.

This post is all about 15 smart strategies to help you pay off debt fast and we’ll break them into a few categories:

  • Increase your income to pay off debt
  • Cut your expenses to pay off debt
  • Use pay off methods.

Increase Your Income to Pay Off Debt Quickly


1. Babysitting

Babysitting is a great, quick way to bring in some extra cash to put toward your debt. To find a babysitting gig, try asking your friends or coworkers if they know anyone that could use some help watching their children.

You can also try creating a profile on websites like Care.com that allow you to browse various babysitting opportunities and ultimately connect with families that could use your help.


2. Pet sitting / Dog walking

If you’re an animal lover, then pet sitting may be more your style. Apps like Rover or Wag will help you connect with people that are looking for pet sitters and dog walkers. Pet sitting or dog walking is a great way to spend some time with animals that you love and make some extra money in the process.


3. Sell your clothes/shoes/accessories on Poshmark, Mercari or eBay

If you have gently used clothing, shoes or accessories that you no longer use or wear, you can sell these items on a variety of websites to make some extra cash. No matter what app or website you use (whether it’s Poshmark, Mercari or eBay), you can list your items for sale in a matter of minutes.


4. Sell furniture on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace

If you don’t have clothes or accessories to sell, but you do have furniture you no longer need, you can absolutely sell that, too. Create an ad for your home goods in just a few minutes with Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and get ready to sell your items for cash.


5. Freelance with Fiverr

Are you a creative person that’s great at graphic design? Writing? Video editing? Or any other service that you can freelance? If so, you should absolutely check out Fiverr. Fiverr is an online marketplace that allows you to market and sell your creative, freelance service(s) for a price. Simply create a profile on the website, get hired by someone who needs your expertise, complete the project, get paid, and put that cash toward your debt!


6. Get a part-time job

If you have some free time, then getting a part-time job can be a great way to help you pay off debt more quickly. Part-time jobs (like scooping ice cream at your local ice cream shop or being a barista at a coffee shop) are generally a bit more time consuming, but they can also help you make larger debt payments on a more consistent basis.


7. Ask for cash gifts instead

If you have a celebration coming up (like a birthday or a holiday) where people tend to ask you what you’d like to be gifted, let them know that you’d love money to help you pay off debt. This may seem a little silly at first, but once you realize how much asking for cash can help you pay off your debt, and how excited people get to give you a gift that’s helping you reach your goal, you’ll wish you started doing it sooner.


Cut Your Expenses to Pay Off Debt Quickly


8. Use cashback websites or apps

Want to make money doing all the shopping you already do? Then you have got to try cashback websites and apps. Here are a few I recommend:

  • Rakuten: Rakuten offers cashback at over 3,500 online stores including Walmart, Target and Kohl’s. To use Rakuten, simply stop by Rakuten.com before you shop online to see if you can receive cash back at the store you plan to shop at. Using Rakuten before you shop online is a no-brainer!
  • GetUpside: When you join GetUpside, you’ll save up to 25¢ per gallon every time you fill up your car’s gas tank. But GetUpside isn’t just for filling up your gas tank – you can also earn cashback through the app when you dine at restaurants or do your grocery shopping.


9. Get a roommate

Making more money isn’t the only way you can pay off debt faster – cutting your expenses can help tremendously, too. Consider getting a roommate to cut down your rent or mortgage payment. By getting a roommate and saving money on your living expenses, you can put more money toward your debt, and maybe even make a new friend in the process!


10. Use coupons

You might think cutting coupons is old school, but they can seriously save you some money! Pay attention to any coupons you receive in the mail and search for promo codes before you shop online. Even if you end up saving a few dollars at a time, whatever money you save can be sent straight to your debt – and no debt payment is too small.


11. Cancel subscriptions that you no longer use

If you’ve been paying for a subscription service that you no longer use (e.g. Spotify, Netflix, or Audible), that money could be so much better spent going toward your debt. So, cancel your unused subscription(s) and start using the money that you would be paying for that subscription each month to make extra debt payments instead.


12. Unsubscribe from enticing emails

If you receive emails from your favorite stores with offers to buy things that you just can’t say “no” to, you might want to start hitting that “unsubscribe” button so that you no longer receive those emails. Unplanned purchases here and there can quickly decrease the amount of money that you are able to put toward your debt. To avoid the temptation to spend money altogether, unsubscribe from any enticing emails that come through to your inbox.


13. Eat at home

Eating at home sounds simple but it can really help you pay off debt more quickly. When you shop for groceries, be sure to stock up on food items that you love so that you aren’t tempted to eat out throughout the week. By limiting or completely eliminating the amount of times you eat out and go through the drive-thru, you’ll cut down on your spending and be able to send more money straight to your debt.


Use These Debt Payoff Methods to Pay Off Debt Quickly


14. Use the Debt Snowball method

Are you using a strategy to help you pay off debt? If not, you may want to consider using the Debt Snowball method. To implement the Debt Snowball method, start by laying out your debts in order of smallest amount to largest.

To start, you will focus on your smallest debt – throw all the extra money you possibly can at this debt, while making minimum payments on all your other debts. Once you’ve knocked out your smallest debt entirely, shift your focus to your second smallest debt, and make minimum payments on the rest of your debts. Continue this process until all your debts have been paid.

Paying off your smallest debt first will give you a quick win, and maybe a boost of motivation to pay off the rest of your debts. If you think this sounds like a debt strategy that would benefit you, you should try it out!


15. Or try the Debt Avalanche method

Another popular strategy for debt payoff is called the Debt Avalanche method. The Debt Avalanche method takes a more mathematical approach to paying off your debt and requires you to know what the interest rates are for each of your debts.

Instead of listing your debts in order of lowest amount to highest, you will list your debts in order of highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. Then, you will first focus on paying off your debt with the highest interest rate, while making the minimum payments on all your other debts.

Once you’ve paid off your debt with the highest interest rate, you will move on to your debt with the next highest interest rate. Continue this process until all your debts have been paid.

When you pay off your debt with the highest interest rate first, you are firstly eliminating the debts that are accruing interest the fastest. Therefore, the Debt Avalanche method presumably saves you the most money overall.

I hope you love this list of 15 smart strategies to help you pay off debt fast! Remember, no debt payment is too small. Even if you are only putting a few extra dollars to your debt when you can, that’ll make a big difference in the long run.

Let me know if you try any of these debt payoff strategies in the comments below, and most importantly, good luck!

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