This post may contain affiliate links.
If you want to pay off debt fast, you might consider going to some extremes to get it done. From moving into a tiny house to selling all but the most essential possessions I have put together a list of extreme, or sometimes just unusual, ideas to cut costs, earn extra income, and pay off debt fast.
Extreme (or Unusual) Ways to Pay Off Debt Fast
Sell Your Car and Get a Cheaper One or Use Public Transportation
According to Credit Karma, the average car payment in the United States in 2019 was $554/month for a new car and $391/month for a used car. That’s a great deal of money when you have debt to pay off. If you are in a vehicle that costs you several hundred dollars a month, consider trading it in and getting a cheaper one. You could get a basic, used vehicle for under $10,000 with a payment of $150 to $190 a month depending on your credit score. That’s a savings of $200 -$400/month. And, it doesn’t have to be permanent. Drive it while you pay off your debt and then you will be in a much better position to buy or lease that dream car.
The second option is to get rid of your car altogether and use public transportation. Of course, this option can only be exercised in an area that has public transportation like a big city. If you’re ok sacrificing yourself to longer commute times and potential crowds in order to better your financial position, go for it.
Rent Out Your Car and Use Public Transportation
Going along with the above is a third option that most people don’t know about. There are companies out there now that allow you to post your car for rent. If getting rid of your car is not an option and you have other means of transportation, consider renting your car out. If your car is popular, you could potentially make enough to cover the car payment or more.
Move Into a Cheaper House or Apartment or Get a Roommate
On the slightly more extreme side, especially if you currently own your home, you could move into a cheaper house/apartment. If you are renting, don’t renew your lease and find someplace cheaper to rent temporarily. If you own, and the market is in your favor, sell and find a smaller, cheaper house to buy or consider renting a cheaper place for a year. There are a whole host of stories of people moving into “tiny homes” to save money and simplify their lives. It might be worth trying.
Another option is to get a roommate. I, personally, am not comfortable having other people live in my house including family members. However, if you are ok with it, consider renting out a bedroom. If your house is larger, consider renting out a basement or other extra area. The rent could help you pay part of your house payment. Or, if you can afford your house payment and utilities without help, you could use the entire rent amount towards your debt. This is what I would do to simplify the process and keep me from not using the funds towards debt.
Rent Out Your Home and Stay with Friends or Family
If you absolutely can’t sell your home, or don’t want to, consider renting it out while you live with friends or family. Most of the time, the rental rate is higher than your mortgage payment which means, not only does it cover your mortgage, but you may make a little extra on top.
Move In with Your Parents
If you can stand to be around your parents or other family members for a long period of time, consider moving in with them. They may let you stay for free or charge you very little rent so you can use the money you are saving on your debt. My parents allowed my brother to live with them for a low rent amount and, in turn, he was able to pay off some student loans and save up enough money for a down payment on a house. Just remember, it is their house, not yours. So, you will need to adhere to their rules and abide by the deal you make with them. If you promise you will be using all the money you save to pay off debt, then do it.
Sell All but Your Most Essential Possessions
This is somewhat similar to moving into a “tiny house” and is one of the more extreme options on this list. Take stock of all your own and make a list of what is most essential for you to live on. What are the items you may want to keep but can live without? Are you willing to part with them and downsize for a better future? I know some people who sold everything except their basic furniture, mainly so they wouldn’t have to purchase furniture in the future, including televisions and other electronics. They were content to watch things on their laptop.
Skip Birthdays and Holidays (As Far as Gift-Giving Goes)
We spend a lot of money over the year on holidays and birthdays. If you add up all the birthday cards and presents, baby shower and wedding gifts, Christmas gifts, etc. you may find that you have spent well over $1,000+. A lot of this, especially Christmas, ends up just being new debt that you’ve put on your credit card. Talk with your family and friends and let them know that you have a goal to pay off and avoid new debt. Tell them that you want to celebrate with them but you will not be buying gifts and cards for a year and you don’t expect anything from them, either. This will save you, as I mentioned above, accumulating new debt and allow you to put any extra money towards old debt.
Work Two or More Jobs
Ok, this one isn’t necessarily extreme. A lot of people work two or more jobs just to survive. However, if you only need one job to make ends meet, it may feel extreme to use your spare time at a second job. But, remember, this is only temporary. A good side job could earn you a few hundred extra dollars a week. Even if you only earned an extra $200/week, that is $800/month you could be putting towards debt. That’s $9,600/year. If you are like the average American, you only have about $7,100 in credit card debt, according to Nerd Wallet. Meaning you could knock that out in less than a year. Even if you have twice that you could get it done in two years or less especially combined with other options.
This is definitely extreme in my opinion. It sounds gross and unpleasant. But there have been quite a number of people who have made extra money and/or saved money by taking someone else’s trash and turning it into their treasure. Keep your eye out for items you can take, refurbish, and resell or keep for yourself to avoid paying for a new one. And this leads me to the next idea…
Flip Furniture or Other Items
Quite a few people have found success by flipping furniture and other items they find or buy for cheap. I, personally, have done this a couple of times. I have found cheap furniture at consignment shops, yard sales, being given away on Facebook or Craigslist, etc. and refurbished or repurposed them into something awesome that I was then able to sell for twice what I paid or more. If you enjoy that kind of things (I love taking the old and making it new!) then consider making some extra money this way.
Buckle Down and Do It
Some of these options may not seem extreme but they go beyond the usual “stop buying coffee and put that money towards debt” that we hear a lot. Budgeting, saving, and tracking expenses are certainly important but sometimes you need a little extra oomph. Every little bit helps when you are desperate and ready to get rid of the boulder around your neck that is debt. There are amazing stories out there of people that buckled down, implemented several of the above ideas and paid off large amounts, think $100,000, of debt in a few short years. So, if you are sick of it and ready to take drastic measures to relieve yourself of the boulder, buckle down, try some of the above ideas, and pay off debt fast.