10 Easy Ways to Get Out of Debt Fast

Debt can be like this large dark cloud looming over your head. At least that is how we felt when we were in debt.

It felt like we were just getting by. It was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The large payments we made each month barely make a dent in our consumer debt. We were feeling very overwhelmed.

After we got married,we sat down to look at our finances. We realized that we had tens of thousands in consumer debt between the two of us. It didn’t take long to realize that we didn’t want to live under the stress of that kind of debt forever.

We decided that we needed to get a handle on our finances and develop a plan to eliminate our debt.

We did some research and learned about the different methods of eliminating debt quickly. Then we figured out a way to get out of debt that would work best for us. We used our our personalities and our situation to discover what would work best.

A Debt Payoff Plan that Works

After we made our plan, we paid off $52,000 in debt in 18 months. We are now debt-free except for our home. *Update, after we paid off our debt using this method we continued to work it to pay off our home. Now our home is paid off too!

You can use the method we did to get debt free. The method itself is easy. Sticking to it is the hard part. When you’re are looking to accomplish something, a plan helps. It is a lot easier to make progress when you have some steps to take. Otherwise, it can be challenging even to figure out where to start.

You also don’t want to have too many steps; you want to keep it simple so that you don’t get frustrated in the process.

Best Ways to Pay Off Debt Quickly

These steps will help you formulate a system that will allow you to get out of debt fast. Read them and put them in place for you. You deserve to be debt free.

1. Develop a Financial Gameplan

If you have read anything that I have written, you have probably heard of the Financial Gameplan form. It is basically a form that has your entire financial picture on one piece of paper.

You can find a copy of the Financial Gameplan form on our Recommendations page.

This form will help you figure out how much money you have to work with every month to pay down debt. It will also reveal to you areas where you can cut back to get more money with which you can tackle your debt.

Knowing what your monthly expenses are and what your monthly income is and having them written down is vital. These two pieces of information will help you find extra money to pay off debt.

The Financial Gameplan form will help you determine right away whether or not you make enough cash to pay down your debt. Then you can make a plan for how you’ll pay it off quickly.

That might simply take some rearranging of your spending, or it might take bringing in more money. It may take a combination of both of those steps. Consider the Financial Gameplan form your initial assessment of your situation.

It will give you a “big picture” plan which you can use to create a more defined plan to pay off your debt quickly. Use the form to start forming your debt payoff plan.

2. Organize Your Debt

If you want to pay off your debt quickly, then this next step is crucial. There are a few different ways you can organize your debt for a quick payoff plan.

My wife and I used the Debt Snowball method where we listed all of our debt on one piece of paper from smallest to largest. Then we started paying minimum payments on everything except the smallest debt.

If you were to use this method of debt organization, you’d take the surplus money you have after paying all your bills and throw that at your smallest debt. For instance, if you have a $100 surplus and the minimum payment on the first debt is $25, now you will pay $125 per month until that debt is gone.

There are other methods of organizing your debt for payoff as well. You can pay it off in order of highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. Or, you can pay it off in order of smallest monthly payment to largest monthly payment.

Everyone has a different opinion about which method of debt organization works best. Some choose the debt avalanche plan. This is the plan where you pay off the highest interest loans and cards first.

The debt avalanche plan makes sense from a numbers standpoint. This is the plan that will help you pay the least amount in interest.

We chose the debt snowball simply because it allowed us to see some fast progress. We needed to see some fast progress to stay motivated. However, you may have some questions about whether or not this method is best for you. Questions such as:

What if one of my debts has a higher interest rate than the smallest one?

This is a question that people ask a lot. The higher interest rate does factor into the equation, but I personally wouldn’t put much focus on that part. In many cases, success in debt payoff is more about feeling like your getting ahead so that you stay on course.

If the process doesn’t encourage you, you risk getting off track and giving up faster. The idea is to develop a system to pay off all your debt fast.

Once you begin paying off some of the small debts, you feel like you are making progress and momentum will build.

Paying off your debt by paying the highest interest loan first might mean it will be months or even years before you see a single debt paid in full. This can be discouraging for many people.

However, the debt snowball method often means you’ll be paying debts in full quite quickly. Your small debts will go away fast. Seeing line items disappear from your list of debts can be very exciting.

By the time you get to those bigger debts, you’ll have a larger surplus of extra cash each month too. This means you’ll pay them off faster than if you’d started off with the higher balance debts.

However, you need to use the method that will motivate you the most. Sometimes it might seem like the debt payoff thing is taking forever. You might get discouraged and want to give up.

I know my wife and I went through that at times. Just keep at it though, and soon enough you will be debt free!

Hint: If you would rather use an Excel spreadsheet rather than a piece of paper you can use this computerized Debt Snowball form here.

See the example below for more details on how to fill it out.

Choose the method that works for you. Just be sure you’re organizing your debt list so you can pay down debts quickly.

3. Track Your Finances Monthly

Tracking your finances monthly is another crucial step to getting out of debt. To create a solid financial picture, you have to be intentional about your finances.

You can’t just spend money that is unaccounted for and then wonder at the end of the month where all of your money went. This (lack of a) “method” for tracking your money can cause big-time trouble and debt accumulation.

In addition, it’s hard to find extra money to pay toward debt when you don’t know where your money is going.

The best thing to do is to create a budget that tracks your income on the top and your expenses on the bottom. Some people think that tracking what you spend isn’t important as long as you’re paying the bills on time.

However, many people have found that tracking your expenditures can help you find nickel and dime purchases that add up to big money over the course of a month. You might be surprised at how much money you’re wasting on “little” expenses such as drive-thru runs.

Tracking your finances helps you find and eliminate those wasteful purchases.

How to Track Your Finances

I’d encourage you to start tracking your finances by writing down all of your projected income at the beginning of each month. Then write down your projected expenses. Be sure to include line items for fluctuating expenses such as groceries and miscellaneous spending.

I suggest using the envelope system for those fluctuating expenses so you don’t spend more than you’d budgeted for in those areas. After you’ve calculated both projected income and projected expenses, subtract your total expenses from your total income.

This will show you if you have either a surplus or a deficit.

A surplus means that you have money left over to use to pay down your debt.

A deficit means that you are spending more than is coming in and that you need to make some drastic budget cuts if you want to get ahead. I have created a Starter Budget form to help you with this process. In addition, below is a video that will walk you through filling out the form.

You can use Personal Capital to track expenses with too. Personal Capital is a free service that helps you see where your money goes each month.

Note: If you’re married, having regular meetings about your finances or doing your monthly or weekly budget together is important. Set aside some time each week to go over your money situation as a team.

Having regular money meetings that are productive can take some work at first. Working to pay off debt can be stressful. Don’t allow that stress to undermine your end game goals. Stay positive, work together and focus on the long-term result instead of the short-term hurdles.

Value Based Spending

You might get nervous at the thought of budgeting and tracking your expenses. Know that there’s no wrong way to spend your money. However, it is important to practice value based spending.

Value based spending involves spending your money on things that are most important to you. It means stopping spending on things that aren’t important to you. If a certain purchase doesn’t bring you joy, stop spending on it.

Conversely, if a purchase brings you a lot of joy, keep it in your budget. Work to compare expenses to the joy you’ll feel when you’re debt free. This will help you figure out which expenses really matter to you.

4. Put All Extra Cash Toward Paying Off Your Debt

This is one of the steps that can be very easily overlooked when you’re paying off debt. Putting any extra cash or unexpected money toward debt will really speed up your debt payoff.

However, when you get a bonus or a tax refund, it can be tempting to want to go out and celebrate. If you’ve been on a tight budget for a while, it can be tempting to want to use the extra money to buy something nice or go on vacation.

However, if you are really serious about wanting to get out of debt and make progress toward your financial goals, you have to stay disciplined. And you’ll need to create the discipline of putting any extra cash that you get towards paying down your debt.

This is a major key to getting out of debt quickly. These windfalls of cash that you didn’t normally expect give you the progress you need to build some serious momentum. They’ll ensure you reach your debt payoff goals much faster.

Some extra cash sources that you can put toward debt include:

  • tax refunds
  • bonuses from work
  • overtime earnings from work
  • second job earnings
  • money from selling things
  • monetary birthday or holiday gifts
  • money you forgot you were owed that gets paid back
  • cash back refunds from credit cards or purchases
  • money from returning things you don’t need or want

There are many sources of extra, unexpected cash that can come your way. Commit to using them to get your debt paid off faster. When you get extra money, think again about how you’ll feel when you no longer have the burden of debt. Imagine yourself debt free.

This will make it easier to avoid spending the money on whims.

5. Sell What You Don’t Need

It’s likely you’ve got items in your house or apartment you don’t need or want. If you sell them, you can really pay off debt much faster. For instance, my wife and I both had newer cars when we got married.

To get out of debt quickly, we decided to sell both cars and use the cash surplus (after we’d paid my car loan off) to get two cheaper vehicles. This wasn’t an easy choice. It’s fun to drive nice cars. However, it did allow us to put several thousand dollars extra toward our debt payoff goals.

Before we talk about what you can or should sell, we need to address the word “need.” Example: You don’t need a $50,000 BMW, but perhaps you do need a vehicle to get you to and from work.

If you want to get out of debt bad enough, you need to make sacrifices now so that you will be better off in the long run.

That might mean selling the BMW and driving an older, reliable used Toyota while you’re getting debt paid off.

Maybe you don’t have a BMW, and a car is not something that you have to sell. No worries; you can still probably find some stuff to sell to speed up debt payoff.

Go through every cabinet, closet, drawer, etc. and find items that you can sell on Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon to earn some extra cash.

For instance, my wife sold a lot of designer clothes and accessories to help pay off our debt. It wasn’t always easy for her to give up those things, but the thought of being debt free motivated her.

I sold my gaming system to help us pay off debt. That wasn’t fun. I liked playing video games, and my wife did too. But we wanted to be debt free more than we wanted to play video games.

The 1 Year Rule

When we started going through closets and drawers, I was shocked at how much stuff we had to sell. Go through every area of your house and pull out everything you don’t need or don’t use. You might be surprised at just how big the pile of stuff you have to sell can get.

I used the 1 Year Rule to help determine what to sell. If I hadn’t used it in the past year, then I probably didn’t need it. Using this rule helped make it easier to sell things that we were having a hard time of letting go.

Make a point of selling things that you no longer need to get out of debt quickly. And remember, when you are debt free you can always buy it again if you find you actually do need or want it.

Use Craigslist and other sites like it to sell your stuff. eBay can be a good site to use too, although they do charge listing and selling fees.

You can send out emails to family and friends about things you have to sell too. Or, you could hold a garage sale. Just work to get rid of it quickly. This will help speed up your debt payoff and give you less time to fret over items you’re selling.

Note: Be wary of selling keepsakes, family mementos or things with high sentimental value: once you sell them you can’t get them back.

6. Scrutinize Your Expenses

Another key to paying off debt fast is to scrutinize every expense. Some people call this using the Challenge Everything Budget. Here’s how it works. Get your Financial Gameplan form or budget out.

Look at each line in your expense category and ask yourself, “How can I make this number smaller? Is there a way to reduce or eliminate this expense?”

We were able to decrease a lot of our expenses by simply doing this one thing. For instance, I called our cell phone company, insurance agency, and internet provider and was able to cut the monthly cost for each one.

We cut other expenses complete. As an example, we cancelled our gym membership. We chose to work out at home and outside instead.

As another example, if you have satellite TV, consider replacing your cable with SlingTV which has plans as low as $20 per month.

Shop around for your insurance needs to see if you can get a better rate. Esurance has a great tool to see if you can save money on your auto insurance. Do whatever it takes to get your expenses as low as possible.

You can do the same thing with recurring expenses that might seem like necessities but really aren’t.

Some examples are:

  • Going to a cheaper salon to get your hair cut or doing your nails at home
  • Eliminating restaurant trips until your debt is gone
  • Stopping newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  • Finding and cutting out other recurring expenses by using free services such as Trim
  • Dropping your gym membership and working out at home by doing outdoor exercises such as jogging

A “Challenge Everything” mentality means taking a serious look at every single expense you have. If it’s not an absolute necessity, get rid of it.

You’ll likely be surprised at how much extra money you’ll gain each month from doing so. Then commit to putting that extra money toward debt payoff.

7. Consider Refinancing Your Debt

I do think that the Debt Snowball is the way to go when paying off debt. However, sometimes it makes sense to refinance your debt when you have multiple high-interest credit cards.

If you are paying over 15% in interest on multiple cards, then refinancing to a much lower interest rate can make sense. It can help you save thousands of dollars over time.

For instance, Credible will show you multiple lenders and help you refinance with rates as low as 4.99% APR.

I would much rather pay 5% than 15%, wouldn’t you? And paying less interest means more of your payment will go toward the principal balance. This will help you pay off debt faster.

8. Increase Your Income

This is one of the most important steps that many people overlook. While paying off debt, keep in mind that you’re not limited to your current income to do so.

Instead, find as many ways as possible to make extra money on the side so that you can pay off your debt quickly.

Apply for a second job at a pizza joint, serve at a restaurant, deliver papers, and do anything you can to bring in more income. I did this to help us pay off debt faster. It took me just eight days to find a second job as a pizza delivery driver.

But you don’t have to deliver pizzas. There are many other options for bringing in more cash to pay off your debt faster. You could sign up with DoorDash or UberEats to deliver food for multiple restaurants.

Or, you could sign up to be a rideshare driver with Uber or Lyft. How about working an online customer service rep job from home? U-Haul hires customer service reps as young as age 16 to work from home.

For more ideas see 20 Creative Ways to Earn Extra Cash. Or check out this post on 80+ Side Hustle Ideas to Make Extra Money. Whether you want to work from home, work for someone else or have your own business, there are always ways to make more money.

Hint: When you’re making a lot of extra cash you may want to increase your spending. Staying on a strict budget is hard. When you’re bringing in hundreds of extra dollars a month from a side hustle you might want to play more. Go on vacation. Or buy something new.

Keep your debt payoff goals in the forefront of your mind. Remember that your strict budget is only temporary. Commit to using all of your extra income to get rid of debt super fast. Make your extra work worth it.

9. Be All-In

And the final – but perhaps most important – step is to commit to being all-in. Give this debt payoff thing all you got. Once you make a commitment and decision to become debt free, stick to it.

In poker, you go all-in if you are confident you have what it takes to win the hand. With debt payoff, your attitude has to be the same. You can’t have one foot in the “I want to buy new clothes” boat and the other in the “I want to become debt-free” boat.

It just won’t work. If you want to get out of debt fast, then you need to be all-in. Having this attitude will take some work. You may need to use motivational quotes or read inspiring books.

Read debt success stories or listen to debt payoff blogs on our site. Make charts or graphs to hang on your walls. Create a list of things you’ll do to celebrate when you’re debt free. Make a list of reasons why you want to be debt free.

All of these actions will help you stay “all in”. Use them when you feel overwhelmed by the process or get discouraged.

10. Be Willing to Take Drastic Steps if Needed

Sometimes debt payoff requires drastic steps. If you’re house poor, you may need to sell your house and downsize to a cheaper payment. You might need to get a cheaper apartment. Or you may need to move to a more affordable area to live.

You might need to seek out a new job that pays more. Or, you might need to start walking or biking to work. What “drastic” means is up to you. For you, drastic might mean going to a cheaper salon. Or not buying designer clothes.

Everyone’s life experiences are different. The expenses we get use to having become a normal part of our lives. And it can be tough to change that. Drastic to me might mean no more $200 dinners out. However, that might be a silly, lavish expense to you.

There’s no right or wrong answers here because everyone is different. But I can tell you that getting drastic does work. It wasn’t easy for my wife to sell her designer clothes and jewelry. It wasn’t easy for me to give up my new, fancy car for an old, used car.

But I’m glad we did those things. Now we never worry about money. And we were able to pay our debt off super fast because we got drastic. Try getting drastic, even if it’s only for a short time. Set goals like “No going out to dinner for 30 days”.

You can always lighten up if you want to, but being drastic will help you reach your goals faster.

Remember that Focus is Key to Get Out of Debt Fast

When we were deep in debt, I felt like I was spinning my wheels for so many years. However, when my wife and I decided to focus intently on paying off the debt, the results were amazing.

It wasn’t easy to pay off $52,000 in debt in just 18 months, but it was worth it. Things will happen to try and get you off track. The car will break down. House repairs and other expenses will come up.

Another thing that will happen is that you’ll have opportunities to spend money. Friends will ask you to go to the movies or out to eat. You may have opportunities for vacations. Or, an item you really want will go on sale. Temptations will come your way on a regular basis.

It is easy to get distracted by these types of temptations, so it is important to remind yourself why you are doing this. Remind yourself that you want a better life for you and your family. Think about the things you want and why being debt free is so important to you.

You want to be able to put your kids through college. Or you want to be in a financial position where you can give to worthy causes. Use your list of “whys” and visualization to keep yourself on track.

For some people, positive visualization works best, such as imagining yourself financially secure and being able to buy whatever you want. For others, negative visualization will work. You might get motivated by the thought of losing your house to foreclosure if you lose your job and can’t make the payments.

Find what works for you as far as motivation, and work it! Keep your “whys” in mind. Your “whys” are the reasons that make you do what you do to get out of debt. They’re the reasons you keep trying and sacrificing so you can make those big extra payments toward debt.

Whatever your “whys,” make sure you keep them at the top of your mind while you pay off your debt.

Use Whatever Motivates You

You can use other tools to keep you motivated during this process of debt payoff too. Depending on your debt level, completing the payoff might take a long time.

In our case, we used a debt tracker chart we put on our fridge to keep us reminded daily of our goal. Every time we paid down our debt, we would fill in the graph. This was a huge motivator and made the process fun at the same time.

You might want to do something different. Maybe you want to make a motivation board. The board will have pictures of all of the things you want to do or buy once you’re debt free. Or, you could make a chart with boxes to check off every time you’ve paid off a certain amount of debt.

Rewards for success can help too. Some people give themselves a small reward every time they reach a debt milestone. For instance, you could plan an inexpensive dinner out for each $1,000 in debt you pay off. Or you could treat yourself to a manicure or a movie out every time you pay off a credit card.

Think about the things that will motivate you to continue to move forward quickly in your debt payoff. Put rewards systems or motivational tools in place to keep you eager to keep going.

Look at your journey as a whole on occasion. For instance, you may feel as if you’ve still got a lot of debt to pay off. But how much have you paid off so far? How far have you come in the last six months? In the last year? Think positive and keep moving forward, no matter the roadblocks that come.

Roadblocks Will Come

And, know that roadblocks most certainly will come. Unavoidable unexpected expenses will happen. You might fall off the wagon with your spending.

It may feel as if these roadblocks are making your efforts worthless. They’re not. When roadblocks come, don’t get discouraged. Just deal with them and move forward.

Remember that every small step helps. Don’t chastise yourself for what you haven’t done. Instead, celebrate what you have done. For instance, your debt payoff plan may take longer than mine to complete.

You might have more debt or less income. Don’t focus on that. Just make forward progress.

The speed of your progress doesn’t matter. What matters is that you continue to move forward in spite of setbacks. If you do, you’ll be out of debt soon enough.

Do you have debt that you are trying to get rid of quickly? Share your experience in the comments below.

EverBank Review: An Online Money Market That Actually Pays

Update 5/31/18: EverBank’s Yield Pledge Money Market is currently paying 1.5% APY on balances of up to $250,000 for first-time money market customers.

Since I was tired of getting only .1% on my emergency fund, I decided to open an online money market account with EverBank. They were paying out 1.10% for the first six months and then .86% for the first year. This was light years beyond what I had been getting in a traditional high yield account, so I decided to give it a shot.

Here is my review of EverBank’s yield pledge money market account.

EverBank
4.0

Summary

If you are looking for a higher paying alternative to traditional banking, EverBank is a great solution. The yield is significantly better and with no monthly fee, it is hard to find a reason why not to open an account.

How I Opened an EverBank Account In 10 Minutes

The application process was swift. It took me around 10 minutes. Keep in mind that I was taking notes, so you may be able to finish it sooner.

The minimum amount required to open an account was $1,500, so I wrote a check for just that. (Hey, I didn’t want to throw all of my eggs in one basket without first giving it a test run!)

I mailed in the check along with a page that required my signature, and within five days I received an email letting me know that they received my application. They also notified me that my welcome kit and account number would arrive in the mail in about 5-7 business days.

The timeline was to be expected since it is an online bank and because I decided to mail the check and paperwork. They did have an alternate method to wire the funds and fax the signature page, but I’m old school (truth be told, I don’t have a fax machine).

When we received our welcome packet, it included our account number which is required to set up online access. Once I had online access, it prompted me to select if I would like online bill payments and to receive e-statements.

Unfortunately, online bill payments are only available for checking accounts, but that wasn’t a problem for us since it was for our emergency fund and I didn’t plan on making any payments out of it.

Setting up online transfers to external bank accounts

Setting up online transfers was easy. They asked me for my routing number as well as my account number for the bank we wanted to make transfers to/from.

Then, they made two small transactions in that account to verify that it was my account and I wrote down those amounts, signed into EverBank, and verified the bank account that I wanted to attach. 

Review of the EverBank Mobile app

My first impression of EverBank is that there is great security. It asked me a series of questions, like what address is associated with a particular street that we lived on, what county we lived in, etc.

I almost felt stumped when I didn’t recognize any of the street names. But then I realized that “none of these” was an answer.

EverBank lets you deposit checks right from your phone

I decided to try this out for myself. So, I wrote a check for $3,500 to myself and then followed the process outlined below.

I was impressed with how simple it was! I got an email saying that the check had been processed. My funds would be available the next business day.

One thing to note is that there is a $5,000 limit to depositing checks from your phone using the EverBank App. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take a picture of the front of the check
  2. Take a picture of the back of the check
  3. Enter in the amount
  4. Select the account you want to deposit the money into
  5. BOOM, you’re done. It’s that simple.

Key Features of Everbank’s Yield Pledge Money Market Account

  • Top 5% yields always
  • $1,500 to open
  • Move money up to 6 times a month
  • Mobile check deposits
  • No monthly fee
  • FDIC insured

Pros of having an EverBank account

  • High Yield (Top 5% yields always based on Bankrate Monitor’s National Index)
  • No Monthly Fee
  • No ATM Fees on non-EverBank ATMs for accounts with balances over $5,000
  • Integrates with Mint.com

Cons of having an EverBank account

  • Limit of $50,000 for the “bonus interest rate” as well as the 1st year APY
  • Takes up to two weeks to open an EverBank account if you choose to mail in the paperwork and check. It will take less time if you decide to wire the funds instead.

Review Summary

If you’re looking for a higher paying alternative to traditional banking, EverBank is a great solution. The yield is significantly better, and with no monthly fee, it is hard to find a reason why not to open an account.

Just keep in mind that they are an online bank, so it does take time to open the account. However, once the account is open, everything else moves as quickly as a traditional brick and mortar bank. Sign up for an EverBank account and start earning more today.

The 100 Best Money Quotes of All Time

There is something about quotes that motivates me to be a better person. Especially when they are relevant to me and where I am in life. Since I blog about personal finance and it is a huge part of what I do, I decided to share my favorite money quotes.

Here is a list of the fifty-one best quotes about money that I have ever heard:

1. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Smith

2. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou

3. ”Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” – Benjamin Franklin

4. “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” – Jonathan Swift

5. “Money and women are the most sought after and the least known about of any two things we have.” – Will Rogers

6. ”Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” – Nelson Mandela

7. “Money is usually attracted, not pursued.” – Jim Rohn

8. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

9. “If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson

10. “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” – James W. Frick

11. “Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.” – Warren Buffett

12. “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

13. “If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.” – Billy Graham

14. “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. – Seneca

15. “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” – Norman Vincent Peale

16. “Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.” – Erich Fromm

17. “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” – Henry Ford

18. “If you want to know what a man is really like, take notice of how he acts when he loses money.” – Simone Weil

19. “Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.” – George Washington

20. “Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.” – Gandhi

21. “When it comes to money, you can’t win. If you focus on making it, you’re materialistic. If you try to but don’t make any, you’re a loser. If you make a lot and keep it, you’re a miser. If you make it and spend it, you’re a spendthrift. If you don’t care about making it, you’re unambitious. If you make a lot and still have it when you die, you’re a fool–for trying to take it with you. The only way to really win with money is to hold it loosely–and be generous with it to accomplish things of value.” – John C. Maxwell

22. “Never spend your money before you have earned it.” – Thomas Jefferson

23. “Unexpected money is a delight. The same sum is a bitterness when you expected more.” – Mark Twain

24. “Las Vegas is the only place I know where money really talks–it says, “Goodbye.” – Frank Sinatra

25. “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” – Steve Jobs

26. “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”  Jim Rohn

27. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” Charles Dickens

28. “I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.” – Steve Martin

29. “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” – Henry Ford

30. “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”  Dave Ramsey

31. “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.” – Donald Trump

32. “The trick is to stop thinking of it as ‘your’ money.”  IRS auditor

33. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

34. The Stock Market is designed to transfer money from the Active to the Patient.”  Warren Buffett

35. “Dogs have no money. Isn’t that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? .. No Pockets.”  Jerry Seinfeld

36. “My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil.”  JP Getty

37. “Money is a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future. Though we need nothing at the moment it insures the possibility of satisfying a new desire when it arises.”  Aristotle

38. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”  Ayn Rand

39. “I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”  Pablo Picasso

40. “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.”  Oscar Wilde

41. “If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.”  John Bogle

42. “Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it.” – Tim Ferriss

43. “Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

44. “If you took our top fifteen decisions out, we’d have a pretty average record. It wasn’t hyperactivity, but a hell of a lot of patience. You stuck to your principles and when opportunities came along, you pounced on them with vigor.” Charlie Munger

45. “The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.”  T.T. Munger

46. “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.”  Will Rogers

47. “It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” – George Lorimer

48. “A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.”  Joe Moore

49. “Money can’t buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories.”  Ronald Reagan

50. “What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more.”  Seneca

51. “Many folks think they aren’t good at earning money, when what they don’t know is how to use it.”  Frank A. Clark

52. “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

53. “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.”  P.T. Barnum

54. “Try to save something while your salary is small; it’s impossible to save after you begin to earn more.”  Jack Benny

55. “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” — Henry David Thoreau

56. “The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator.” — Ben Graham

57. “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas. — Paul Samuelson

58. “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” — Thomas Jefferson

59. “It’s easier to feel a little more spiritual with a couple of bucks in your pocket.”― Craig Ferguson

60. “Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self.” — Nathan W. Morris

61. “The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” — Philip Fisher

62. “Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.” — Benjamin Franklin

63. “Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.” — Christopher Rice

64. “I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy.” — Warren Buffett

65. “Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” — Zig Ziglar

66. “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” — Benjamin Franklin

67. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” — Jim Rohn

68. “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

69. “Buy when everyone else is selling and hold until everyone else is buying. That’s not just a catchy slogan. It’s the very essence of successful investing.” — J. Paul Getty

70. “How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” — Robert G. Allen

71. “I made my money the old-fashioned way. I was very nice to a wealthy relative right before he died.” — Malcolm Forbes

72. “Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.” — Jackie Mason

73. “The more you learn, the more you earn.” — Frank Clark

74. “Put all good eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.” — Andrew Carnegie

75. “Money grows on the tree of persistence.”— Japanese Proverb

76. “Money is a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future. Though we need nothing at the moment it ensures the possibility of satisfying a new desire when it arises.” — Aristotle

77. “Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none.”— Richard M. DeVos

78. “If you wish to get rich, save what you get. A fool can earn money; but it takes a wise man to save and dispose of it to his own advantage.” ― Brigham Young

79. “There are people who have money and people who are rich.”— Coco Chanel

80. “Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings.” — Carl Sandburg

81. “People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.”— Joan Rivers

82. “I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for ten years.” — Warren Buffett

83. “Money can’t buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories.” — Ronald Reagan

84. “If you’re saving, you’re succeeding.” ― Steve Burkholder

85. “Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.”— Michael Leboeuf

86. “Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.”— Dave Ramsey

87. “Frugality includes all the other virtues.”— Cicero

88. “That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”— Henry David Thoreau

89. “Do what you love and the money will follow.”— Marsha Sinetar

90. “I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.”— Robert Bosch

91. “If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” — Edmund Burke

92. “No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself.” — Plato

93. “Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.” — Napoleon Hill

94. “I don’t want to make money. I just want to be wonderful.”— Marilyn Monroe

95. “It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.”— Margaret Thatcher

96. “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” — Robert Kiyosaki

97. “You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.” — Tennessee Williams

98. “Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” — Will Rogers

99. “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” — Epictetus

100. “Money often costs too much.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you have a favorite quote about money? If so, leave it in the comments below!

How to Sell Stuff on Craigslist Extremely Fast

Last night I decided to sell my old cell phone on Craigslist and I didn’t want to wait a couple of weeks to get rid of it. So I implemented the following steps and I was able to sell it within 2 hours of listing it. Here are the tips I used to sell my phone quickly and I’m sure they’ll help you to sell your items on Craigslist quickly and at a decent price.

Tips to Sell Items on Craigslist Quickly

Below are my top tips on how to make sure that your item sells pronto on Craigslist.

1. Determine the Market Price

When looking for the market price, you can start by going to Ebay and checking the ‘completed listings’ because this will show you what has actually sold and for how much. This will give you an idea of what the demand is for your particular item. If there is no demand then your item will not sell fast. Another option is to check current Craigslist listings in your area for similar products and see what they are going for. 

If you’re selling a big ticket item such as a car or boat, you can check prices online through sites like Kelley Blue Book or NADA.

2. Price it Right

Once you’ve done your research and checked out the market price, you’ll want to price your item competitively. You can do that by pricing it similarly or slightly less than one in a similar condition to yours. For instance, when I sold my phone on Craigslist there was a phone like mine on there for a $240 asking price, so I listed mine at $220.

Remember, just because something is listed at a certain price, doesn’t mean somebody will get that price for it. If there are items similar to yours listed, you’ll want to have the better deal.

3. Be Willing to Negotiate

You must be willing to negotiate otherwise you may end up stuck with the item that you are trying to sell. People always feel better about a purchase when they get a deal. A good expectation would be to plan to sell your item for 10-20% less than the list price. When I sold the phone I talked about earlier, I listed it for $220, but in my mind I expected that I would sell it for $200.

One of the first things the guy who bought my phone asked me was what my lowest price was. I told him that I just listed it and the lowest I could go was $200. He bought it and did not even try to negotiate any lower.

4. Describe the Item in Detail

Have this question in mind when you list the product, “What would I want to know if I were buying this item?” Here are some good answers you might consider when determining what details to include in your description:

Condition: Does it have any flaws, damage, and is it fully functional? The better you describe the condition, the less awkward the conversation will be when the person comes to look at it because they will have clearer expectations when they see the item in person. If a person knows exactly what to expect when they’re coming to see your item, the chances of purchase are higher. However, if you list your item in “excellent” condition and it’s full of wear and tear, prospective buyers will likely walk away disappointed.

Specs: What are the specific characteristics? When I sold my old phone I listed the screen size, storage capacity, processor speed, how many mega-pixels the camera was, etc. Some people are searching Craiglist for an item with certain specifications, so if you list the specs, you will have a better chance of these types of buyers finding your listing. For instance, if you are selling a car on Craigslist, you should consider listing the engine size, whether not it is 4 wheel drive, how many miles it gets to a gallon, current mileage, etc.

Accessories: What comes with the item? Listing the accessories is important because it could be a reason someone buys your item over somebody else’s. For example, when listing a cell phone some accessories would include a case, a car charger, or even an extra wall charger. When selling items such as cars, talk about accessories such as heated seats, power windows, CD players or DVD players, etc.

List a Reason: What is the reason you are selling it? This does not have to be long. One sentence should do. This way people know the “why” behind the listing and they will be more comfortable about giving you a call. Sometimes if the price is too low and there is no reason, people may avoid call because they think it may be a scam. Or they might think you’re trying to get rid of a poor quality item. If you have a good reason for selling, people are more likely to take a second look at your listing.

Telephone Number: You must list your phone number to sell it quickly. I actually don’t even contact people with just an email address. Often times those are scams or marketing ploys to get your contact info. Also, use the digits like this: 602-555-5555. Don’t do this: Six 0 Two 555-555Five. This is annoying because often I like to call from my cell phone. if done right, I can just touch the number when I see the ad and it instantly places a call. If you list it the latter way, this is not possible.

Special Features: Is there anything about this item that is different from others listed? If there is, make sure to put that as well. Share special features without criticizing similar listings – the goal is to share what it is about your product that makes it worth taking a look. This could be the difference between someone buying yours or another item they find.

5. Take Good Pictures

People want to know the quality of a product before they will take the time to come and see it. If the pictures of your item are taken from the Internet, that tells the buyer that you’re not crazy about revealing the actual condition of the item. If you take poor quality pictures that are blurry or have poor lighting, they might make the item you’re trying to sell look in worse condition than it actually is.

You don’t have to have an expensive camera to take great photos for Craigslist, but it is important to make sure the pictures are clear and taken in natural daylight for the best results. Also, if there is any damage on an item, add a picture of that as well so people know up front what to expect.

6. Sell Items in Batches

If you have more than one item to sell, list all of the items at one time, and check the “include more ads by this user” box when you list your items. This will help you get more exposure for all of the stuff you want to sell and might encourage potential buyers to pick up other things they need or want that you are selling, even if they’re only initially calling about one particular item.

7. Allow Text Messages

The fact of the matter is that we live in a world where people would rather text than talk. If you allow text messages on your ad people might be more likely to respond and to come and see your product. Text messaging is more convenient for potential buyers and often results in a faster response time than communicating through traditional email.

Conclusion

If you want to sell your item quickly, then you need to separate yourself from the competition. By describing your item well, taking great pictures and making it easy for potential buyers to contact you, you have a better chance of selling your items on Craigslist or similar sites faster than the competition sells theirs.

These are tips that I have personally used to get rid of stuff fast and if you implement them, you may be surprised to see how quickly you can turn your stuff into cash.

Have you sold anything on Craigslist fast? If so, did you do anything different from what I described above?

Need Money Now? 14 Legit Ways to Get Paid Today

Sometimes you just need money fast – as in TODAY.

Perhaps you have an unexpected car repair because your transmission went out or you blew a tire.

Fortunately, there are lots of legit ways to get money quickly.

If you work it right, you can try a combination of the money-making ideas listed below and increase your cash flow even more.

Look through the list, figure out which money-making ideas are most conducive to your lifestyle and get to work.

14 Ways to Get Money Quickly

Although there are many ways to get money fast, I’ve picked twenty-one ways I feel are doable for most people. So, you won’t find weird things on this list such as selling bodily fluids or panhandling.

These are real, legit ways people make money every day.

1. Drive People Around

Driving people around companies like for Lyft is great because you can pick your hours to work without any notice at all. These apps provide rides for people who need to get places.

People like choosing Lyft over a traditional taxi service because the service they get with these types of rideshare companies is more personalized and often more affordable as wel

By providing excellent service as a rideshare driver and driving during peak ride times, you can earn more money faster.

If you’re interested in learning more about driving for a rideshare company, check out our article on How to Make Money Driving for Lyft.

2. Play on Your Phone with Swagbucks

Sites like Swagbucks pay you for doing things you probably do already anyway. With Swagbucks, you can earn points for doing things such as:

  • Playing games
  • Watching video
  • Shopping
  • Searching
  • Taking surveys

After you earn enough points, Swagbucks will allow you to convert those points into gift cards from your favorite retailers, or into cash deposited in your PayPal account.

You won’t earn a ton of money with Swagbucks, but it will help you to earn a few bucks here and there and pay you for things you are likely already doing without getting paid. Right now they have a $10 bonus just for signing up!

3. Sell DVDs and CDs

Do you have oodles of DVDs and CDs sitting around your house that you never, ever watch or listen to? Why not sell them to make some quick money?

Decluttr is a cool website where you can sell your stuff and get money really fast. Here’s how it works:

First, you go to the Decluttr site and enter in the bar-codes of things you want to sell. Decluttr primarily buys CDs and DVDs, but they also buy a few other items such as:

  • Books
  • Games
  • Cell phones
  • LEGOs

Yep, apparently, there’s a big market for reselling LEGO sets. Anyway, as you enter the barcodes for the items you want to sell, Decluttr automatically tells you how much they’ll pay you for each item.

Using Decluttr is an easy way to sell your stuff fast.

See how much you can get for your stuff on Decluttr today.

4. Rent Out a Room on Airbnb

Do you have a spare bedroom – or even a spare couch – in your house? If so, you can rent it out to travelers on Airbnb.

Airbnb is a site that offers rooms, couches or whole houses for rent to travelers who are looking to avoid the expense and lack of personal feel that often comes with traditional hotel rentals.

In the major metropolitan area where I live, the average weekly rental rate for a single room is $297. That’s a lot of cash for just letting someone crash at your place for a few days.

If you think renting out a room in your house or apartment might be a great way for you to get money fast, visit the Airbnb site today to learn more about becoming a host.

5. Take Surveys on Survey Junkie

If you find yourself with spare time to browse on your phone, you could make some fast cash by signing up with Survey Junkie.

Survey Junkie pays people for sharing their opinions, and the cool thing about the company is that it allows you to complete surveys whenever you want.

When you complete surveys on their site, Survey Junkie rewards you points, which can then be converted into gift cards at your favorite stores or cash which is transferred to your PayPal account.

You won’t get rich by completing surveys, but you can start earning points right now and get cash quickly.

If you’re eighteen years of age or older and like the idea of making money just for answering questions on your phone, check out Survey Junkie.

You can make money with Survey Junkie even when you’re sitting around watching TV or sitting in the waiting room for your dentist appointment.

6. Deliver Groceries to People

Have you heard of Instacart? They will deliver groceries to your home, and they quickly pay people who deliver groceries to their clients.

As with Lyft, you can sign in as available for grocery delivery shifts at your convenience.

With both companies, they let you know when there is a delivery opportunity available and you can choose whether or not to take the job.

Your rate of pay as a personal grocery shopper will vary based on a number of factors such as the size of the grocery order and the miles driven for delivery.

A typical reported average pay for doing grocery delivery is $15 an hour. Remember that as with other delivery services, you can get tips along with what you get paid directly from the delivery company.

Depending on which company you sign on with, you might be shopping and delivering the groceries that clients order, or you may just be delivering.

Delivering for Instacart could be an excellent way for you to earn cash quickly if you like driving and live near a grocery store.

7. Sell Your Unwanted Clothes

Chances are you have at least a few unwanted clothing items in your closet. If you need money fast you may be able to sell those clothes and get some quick cash.

Luckily, there are several ways to sell your old clothes. If you have a LOT of clothes, you could hold a garage sale, but people typically don’t have enough clothes alone to do that.

There are online companies such as ThredUp that buy specific brands of clothing from people and then resell them.

Although it is a great way to sell your clothing really fast, you should know that sites like ThredUp don’t pay a lot for clothing and they do have a limited number of brands that they accept.

Selling your clothing could make you quick cash and help you declutter your house at the same time.

8. Offer Your Babysitting/Pet Sitting Services

One popular way of making money these days is through pet sitting or child care. The great thing about these types of jobs is that you are usually paid on the spot the same day you do the work or finish the job.

Check with local friends and family members to see if they need a pet sitter or babysitter, or if they’d like an evening out. A reasonable average pay rate for babysitting services is $10 per hour – and more if you are watching several children.

If you can’t find friends, family members or neighbors that need help watching their little ones, you could always sign up with a website like Care.com to find babysitting gigs in your area.

9. Get a job delivering food

The great things about delivery jobs are that you can usually get hired quickly and start working right away.

And although you likely won’t get a paycheck for a couple of weeks, you will earn tips immediately if you do your job right.

Check with local chain restaurants and pizza delivery places to look for quick work as a wait staff person or delivery person.

You can also check out applying to be a drive for DoorDash and deliver almost anything to people in your spare time,

10. Run a Mobile Car Wash Service for a Day or Two – or Longer

A mobile car wash service is a great way to earn some money fast. Put together some simple supplies: a bucket, some rags, some towels for drying, some dish soap, window cleaner, some paper towels and a portable, rechargeable vacuum.

Head out into the neighborhood (weekends are usually best – evenings can work too) and go door-to-door offering your mobile car wash service.

It is a task that people know they need done but often just don’t have the time to do. All you need from them is their car and access to their outside water and water hose.

Base your rate on how long you think it will take you and on how messy the car is. Do a terrific job, and you might earn some tips as well.

11. Take Back Stuff You Bought

If you like to shop and spend a lot of your money on clothes and other stuff, you might be able to come up with some really fast cash by returning items you bought but haven’t used yet.

Search your house and closet for stuff like that DVD movie you just had to have or that sweater you haven’t worn yet.

Take your pile of stuff and the accompanying receipts and bring it back to the store for some quick cash. Chances are you don’t really need it anyway, right?

12. Do Lawn Work for Your Neighbors

Lawn work is one of those tasks that many people would gladly pay to have taken off their hands. If you want quick cash, you can offer a variety of lawn care services.

You could mow lawns, rake leaves, shovel snow in the winter or do basic trimming and landscaping. Other ideas include weeding gardens or clearing out vegetable or flower gardens for the winter.

Prices are generally negotiated per job and are paid for as soon as the job is finished. If you play your cards right, you could be hired on as a regular by some clients and have fast money every week.

13. Hold a Garage Sale

If you have a lot of stuff hanging around your house that you don’t want or need, holding a garage sale could be a great way to get money fast.

Thursdays, Fridays and weekends are usually the best sale days for getting rid of your stuff. Go through your house, gather your stuff up and price it competitively (10% of the retail price is reasonable).

Display your stuff attractively and organize it well to make it easy for people to shop. Gain more traffic by posting your garage sale on Craigslist and hanging up signs around the neighborhood.

Be willing to bargain too. Getting something for an item is better than getting nothing.

Want to make your sale extra attractive? Offer snacks or lemonade for free or cheap.

14. Do Gigs on Gigwalk

Gigwalk is a different type of task site. Gigwalk is a company that helps consumer brands identify and fix potential marketing issues.

When you sign up to be a gigwalker, you’ll have the chance to do a variety of tasks that help the company get feedback for their retail clients.

Gigwalker tasks take anywhere from five minutes to a few hours, and you get to see the task and the pay before you decide whether or not you’ll take it.

You find out which jobs are available on Gigwalk by downloading their app onto your phone. The range for a Gigwalk task might be anywhere from $3 to $100, depending on the task.

A gigwalker might be asked to take a picture of a menu at a restaurant or give feedback about a product display at a store.

Payments are made directly through PayPal.

Summary

As you can see, there are many, many opportunities for making money really quickly. To maximize your income – especially where service types of jobs are concerned – be sure to do your best work.

Developing a good reputation as you do the different jobs you find means people are more likely to call on you when they need help in the future.

Have you ever done any of these jobs to make money fast? What are your favorite ways to make money quickly?

How I Paid Off $25,302 of Student Debt on a Smaller Income

This article is part of the Student Loan Debt Movement, which is encouraging and inspiring people to take action on their student loans.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m 27, my favorite color is green and I am debt free! I’m a freelance writer who writes about adventures in frugal living on the way to financial independence at my blog, From Frugal to Free.

How much debt did you start out with?

$25,302 in student loans. I had a small amount of credit card debt in 2012 but paid it off in two months.

What motivated you to pay off your debt?

June 2014. I was incredibly underemployed- working as a gym receptionist for $9/hr 10 hours a week and catering 1-2 times a week for $12/hr. I was constantly stressed about money and felt really lost. I was ashamed that I hadn’t been able to find a real job. I felt like I was wasting my time, my talent and my education. My loans were in deferment and I was having panic attacks thinking about what I would do when that deferment let up in August 2014. I felt totally out of control and realized I had to do something to take back my life. My debt caused me the most amount of stress so I decided to eliminate that.

What plan did you formulate to pay it off early?

I decided to cut all unnecessary spending until I was debt free. I spent money on rent, insurance, food, and utilities. Everything else was out! I’m an all or nothing kind of personality, so this really worked for me.

I also picked up more hours at my side hustles. I catered, did freelance social media work, wrote freelance articles and coached lacrosse.

I put my Christmas and birthday money, as well as my tax refund, toward my debt. Any extra money that came my way went straight to my debt load.

What resources did you use to help you through this process?

I used to binge read personal finance blogs. I learned from others who had been in my shoes.

I would routinely google ‘pay off student loans’ or ‘pay off debt’ and I read every story I could. I also read a lot of frugal living blogs to see how I could maintain a happy life that didn’t come with an astronomical price tag. I found everything I needed to learn and to motivate me online.

What were the biggest setbacks that you faced while paying it all off?

My low income. In 2014 I made under $16,000 for the year. I just couldn’t pay off anything when I made so little money. So in 2015, my focus was on cutting expenses but also on increasing my income.

What were you doing for a living while you were paying off the debt?

Oh man. What WASN’T my job?! I didn’t and still don’t have one full-time job. Rather, I work several part-time and seasonal jobs. Over the course of 2015, I had seven different jobs!

When I was paying off my debt, I worked 25 hours a week at a nonprofit in addition to four other jobs: freelance social media work, freelance writing, catering 2-4x a week in the evenings. I also coached lacrosse from February-May.

How long did it take you to pay it off?

In total, it took me three years to pay off my loans. I paid $13,000 off from January-June 2015 though. I think it’s worth noting I’ve never made over $30,000 annually either, so it can be done on a small salary!

How did your life change once you paid it all off?

I’m using “literally” correctly when I say that LITERALLY EVERYTHING got better. Financially I was able to more than double my emergency fund, open and fully fund an IRA and save an additional $3,000.

Personally, my stress levels went down, my self-esteem got better and my belief in myself got stronger. I had set this goal for myself in January 2015 to be debt free by January 2016 and I accomplished my goal almost seven months early.

I proved to myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to. That kind of faith in myself and my abilities is the best thing to come from being debt free. It’s priceless, really.

What practical tips do you have for people looking to pay off their debt?

Ask yourself what is necessary and what’s not. Be brutal in this assessment. Debt holds you back in a myriad of ways, and the best thing you can do for yourself and your future is to get out of it!

The things that made the biggest difference for me was cutting back on costs and making more frequent payments to beat the interest. I made 3-6 payments each month on my debt. My interest accrued daily so if I made a payment on a Monday and another one on Friday it meant there was less time for the interest to grow.

So my payment made more of an effect on my actual balance. I would really recommend doing this. Even if it’s just $50 it makes a difference!

Also, buy food in bulk, buy off brand, use coupons, cook at home, eat leftovers and never turn down free food. Use what’s free around you. I got free sneakers and food from my coaching gig. Use the library. Walk or bike more. Trade instead of buying. There are a million ways to save money. Find the best ones for your lifestyle and commit to them.

To learn more about Kara and her journey to debt freedom, you can head over to her blog, From Frugal to Free. 

Want to pay your debt off quickly? Here are some things you can do:

Find out exactly how much you owe – Check out Credit Sesame which will give you your credit score almost instantly for free along with the details of your credit report

Online surveys – You can get paid for taking surveys online in your spare time. Three of the most reputable companies to check out are Survey Junkie, Panel Payday, and Swagbucks.

If you sign up for all three, then you can get more survey opportunities and make even more money.

Save money with little thought required – There is a free tool called Trim which will cancel your unused subscriptions, find you cash back, and renegotiate your bills for you.

Shop your auto insurance – When was the last time you did this? You could be paying more and not even know it. Check out Esurance and get a quote within minutes to see how much money you can save on your car insurance.

How She Paid off $8,400 in Debt in Just 90 Days

Well Kept Wallet chats with Lauren Bowling, who obliterated over $8K in debt and even started a blog about it. Find out what she did to pay down her debt and stay sane.

How did you acquire $8,400 in debt?

I battled with credit card debt throughout college and graduated with $10K in debt when I left school in 2009. By late 2011, I was debt free and managed to remain so until I bought my first home in July 2013. I lumped a renovation in with the mortgage, but the renovation went crazy over budget (Thanks to a crook of a contractor and my own negligence as a first-time buyer!), so I put the $8,400 or so in renovation overages onto my credit cards.

Emotionally exhausted from the renovation, I ignored the debt and just paid the minimums for about a year until I decided to get serious about paying it off. Some of the money was on a 0% APR card, but the rest of the balances were quickly escalating because of all the interest.

To cut down on high-interest rates, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. That way more of your payments go toward actually paying off your debt instead of battling interest.

What did it feel like to have that much debt?

Honestly? Super embarrassing. I make a living out of teaching others how to be better with money and here I was committing the “ultimate sin” by carrying high-interest card debt. The debt was also a strong reminder of what a hard time I’d had with the renovation, the relationship I was in at the time, and it felt like a lot of unnecessary baggage I didn’t want to keep around anymore.

To avoid credit card interest and still earn rewards, check out Debitize. It turns your credit card into a debit card by withdrawing money from your checking account the same day you swipe your card.

How long did it take you to pay it all off?

I’m big on doing 30-day challenges on my site, so I began to brainstorm how I could make a “challenge” out of paying off all my credit card debt. Paying off all that debt in 30 days was completely unrealistic, but I began to dream about how I might be able to accomplish it in 90 days.

To help keep myself accountable, I decided to document my progress publicly on my blog, Financial Best Life. As a personal finance blogger, I didn’t want to fail in front of my audience, so that really helped keep me on track!

What resources did you use to help you through this process?

Good, old-fashioned, goal setting best practices, mostly. But I had to get super granular with it, and I tracked my payoff weekly, which helped a lot because I was working with such a short time frame. I also did a couple of other things I feel were key to my success.

  • First I picked my goal, $8,400 and “reverse engineered” my goals from there. To pay that off in 90 days I’d have to pay $2,800 a month or $1,400 every two weeks.
  • I put a small portion of my emergency savings toward paying off the debt (~$1,000) because I figured the debt was costing me more than that in the long term. (I also made sure I left enough in savings for actual emergencies.) It was also a nice jumpstart to my challenge and left me making $1,200 payments every two weeks.
  • I used the debt repayment tracker that I now offer on my site as a way to track progress.
  • I cut my budget to the bare bones and got creative with ways to make extra cash.
  • To stay motivated, I also created a vision board which I’d never done before. It helped me articulate what I wanted my life to look like after the debt was gone.

Did you face any challenges along the way?

Mostly just fatigue. I was taking on extra work, and that’s basically all I did for 90 days. It also got harder and harder to keep saying no to friends and family who wanted to go out and do things. But hey, it was only for 90 days!

Honestly — It took up all my free time to focus on my big goal: making sure the cards got paid. Not having time or energy to do much else was the most challenging part, and I was definitely exhausted by the time it was over. But paying off debt on any time frame is exhausting, which is why I like the idea of accelerated payoff.

What were you doing for a living while you were paying off the debt?

I was working full time as a marketing content strategist for a great software company in Atlanta. I made $60K a year and was bringing home ~$3,800 after taxes each month. $400 of each paycheck ($800 per month) went directly to my debt, and the rest was used to pay my bills.

I was also relying heavily on my “side hustle” as a freelance writer, and earnings from my blog to make extra money to pay down debt. I made ~$2,700 each month on that after expenses, which is where the majority of the debt payoff money came from.

I did pretty much anything I could do to make extra side cash: selling items on eBay, babysitting, asking my friends if they needed work, etc. I even got paid to do a little voice-over work for a friend, which was fun!

How did it feel once you paid it all off?

It felt so incredible! Maybe even more empowering than the first time I paid off cards after college because the goal was so aggressive and I had to focus so completely to get it done.

I’d taken on so many new clients during my “challenge” who wanted me to continue working that I was able to leave my full-time job to work for myself shortly after I completed the challenge. I’d always wanted to be my own boss, and with the debt gone, there wasn’t anything holding me back.

What practical tips do you have for people looking to pay off their debt?

Start backward: look at your debt, set a realistic timeline based on your personality (Are you slow and steady or want to be aggressive?) and set a monthly goal. Also, even though you have to sacrifice your free time, side hustling is a fantastic way to bring in extra cash to pay off your debt faster. It can be addictive to put such large amounts toward your debt each month!

Teaching the Youth About Money: The FutureSmart Challenge

Recently I had the privilege to attend the FutureSmart challenge by MassMutual that was put in Phoenix, Arizona. There was about 2,500 students in the Talking Stick Arena where the Phoenix Suns normally play.

The event is geared toward teaching the future generations about managing money well.

You might think that it is a boring subject to learn at such a young age, but I was impressed at how they made it fun and engaging for the students. Hill Harper, an actor from NCIS, was the main speaker and he definitely knew how to work a crowd. He gave them practical advice about creating a money “blueprint”.

One of my favorite things Hill said was, “I’d rather buy Nike stock than Nike shoes.” He then proceeded to give one of his Nike shoes away to a student in the crowd.

In between the key points of his talk, they had some talented people come out to dunk basketballs which made it entertaining so that these kids we’re alert and paying attention to the material. They also had dance off where Hill would call on random students in the audience and have them compete with each other by doing their best moves to a current hit song.

It was easy to tell that these kids were engaged and ready to soak up whatever Hill said.

At the end, Hill had a call to action to make sure that they would actually apply what they learned. He told them to message him on Instagram with a photo of their blueprint.

If I was a student in that room and a popular actor told me to send them a message, I would have definitely done it.

I even had the opportunity to interview Hill and ask him how kids that come from families of low means could succeed. He said, “Its not about what you make, it is about what you save.”

See interview with Hill here:

I had the privilege to sit down with @hillharper and talk about money at the #futuresmart event from @massmutual. He has some solid advice! #personalfinance #ad #financialliteracy

A post shared by Deacon Hayes (@wellkeptwallet) on

If these kids implement even a fraction of what they learned to their lives, they are going to be in a much better financial position then even I was as that age.

“This article was sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001. www.MassMutual.com. All opinions are those of the author.”

How to Make Money with Airbnb

We’re always talking on the site about all of the great ways to make extra money that are out there. From passive income sources such as dividend investing to active income sources like delivering pizzas, your income-earning capabilities really are in your own hands.

If you’re looking to make more cash and have an extra room in your house that you could rent out, Airbnb might be a great opportunity to turn that spare bedroom into real money.

Airbnb is a company that offers affordable short-term rental alternatives to travelers who are looking to avoid high hotel costs.

The site advertises available rooms, condominiums and houses for rent on a daily or weekly basis to individuals and groups of people traveling for work or for pleasure.

Here is the real-life story of Steve and Annette and their Airbnb experience. Read it and find out if listing your spare space on Airbnb might be a good way for you to bring in some extra cash.

Real Couple Making Money with AirBnB

My friends Steve and Annette were looking for some ways to bring in some consistent side income. They know that having multiple streams of income is a really helpful tool for those who have financial goals they want to reach.

All of Steve and Annette’s kids were grown and had moved out of the house. That meant that most of their home’s other bedrooms were sitting empty.

Then one day it dawned on them that they could list one of those extra rooms on Airbnb for some extra cash.

At first, they listed one room and were making about $500 per month. After getting the hang of how it works, they decided to see if they could list a second room in their house as well, and increase their income in the process.

It worked. In fact, it worked so well that at the time of writing this article, they are making an average of $1,500 per month listing rooms on Airbnb!

Not Everything is Perfect

While their Airbnb side hustle is definitely making them income, it’s not always a hassle-free way to earn money. It’s true that most of the people that stay with them have been great, but they have had their share of challenging guests as well.

Steve told me of a time when a guy told them that he was going to check in at 11 p.m. but then he didn’t show up until 1:30 a.m. This matters, because Steve and Annette like to greet their guests and get them situated. Well, greeting people that early in the morning is less than ideal.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Steven and Annette decided to change their Airbnb listing so that it stated that they no longer accept late night check-ins. They also decided that they wanted to screen all future guests.

With the Airbnb instant booking option, there’s no need for travelers to get approval from the host before booking. However, if a host has the instant book option set to “off”, they have the ability to screen all applicants.

While having instant book set to off could impact a host’s ability to make cash quickly from last-minute travelers, the ability to screen potential guests before they book allows hosts to be sure that the guest(s) fits in with their work/life balance needs.

Taking caution to avoid the types of guests that might interfere with their work/life balance is important to Steve and Annette. So, although Airbnb offers an instant-booking option, they prefer to pre-screen their guests instead.

Who Uses Airbnb?

Steve and Annette have had people staying with them for various reasons. One couple stayed with them because they were relocating to Arizona from India and needed a temporary place to stay until they found a more permanent residence.

They have also had people who stayed with them while they were on vacation. Because Steve and Annette live in Arizona, this is extremely beneficial when wintertime rolls around.

The average temperature in the Phoenix area is around 67 degrees in the winter, so people travel from all over to enjoy the warmth and get away from the snow.

These aren’t the only reasons people use Airbnb. Here are some other reasons people might book a room with an Airbnb host:

  • To stay for a work conference
  • To visit a sick friend or family member for an extended period of time
  • To go to a major event like a Super Bowl or World Series game
  • To have a stay where there is access to a kitchen
  • To be able to have on-site laundry facilities where they stay
  • To be able to save money: Airbnb bookings are cheaper than most hotels

How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Host on Airbnb?

There is definitely money to be made with AirBnB, but how much you might be able to charge for your listing can vary widely depending on how big your property is, how nice it is, how many extra amenities it has and how close it is to popular destinations such as sports stadiums and other venues.

In Steve and Annette’s case, they list each room out for about $55 per night. This number can vary, though, depending on the season. In the summer, they often charge lower rates because it is very hot in Arizona.

During the winter months, they can charge more because the weather is so good, and because Arizona is a hot spot for people looking to get away from the cold and snow.

So, if you decided to become an Airbnb host and list a spare room in your home or apartment, and were able to make $50 per night for your spare room for half of the month (so, 14 days), you could make as much as $700 per month.

One cool thing about listing with Airbnb is that you get exactly what you charge the guest. Airbnb charges the taxes and fees on top of your nightly rate. So, if you charge $50 per night, that is what you will get paid.

Many people choose to use PayPal to get paid, however Airbnb even pays the payment processing fee, so that is not a fee you have to worry about either.

What if I Want to List My Whole House?

Airbnb can also accommodate hosts who want to list their whole house. The fees for whole house listings varies as well, but there is definitely more money to be made by doing this.

Personally, my wife and I have rented a house out for $125 per night which was pretty nice. So, let’s use this number for our calculations. If you were able to list a whole house for two-thirds of the month, or 20 days, you could make $2,500 per month.

So, as you can see, you can make a lot more money by listing the whole house as opposed to just listing a single room.

I Have a More Luxurious Home. What Can I Expect to Make?

A nicer home will list for more money on Airbnb, at least in most cases. I searched for a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Scottsdale, Arizona (a very affluent city) and found homes charging between $550 per night up to $2500 per night.

This means if you have a REALLY nice house and could get $2500 per night, two nights per week for a month, you could bring in $20,000 per month. Obviously, this is not normal but I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the possibilities.

What to Expect When Listing Your Place as a Host

You will want to make sure that you have yourself covered when listing your place on Airbnb. There are many aspects to being a host on Airbnb and you want to make sure that you are as thorough as possible when listing your property.

It’s also important to be sure any potential guests know what to expect before they book a room or a whole house stay on your property.

 Here are some things to consider:

  • Ask for a security deposit in case anything gets broken. Security deposits are most often charged when guests rent an entire house, but not usually charged when renting an individual room.
  • Require a cleaning fee up front so that you can hire someone to clean or pay for your own time to clean up after your guests. Cleaning fees can potentially range from $15 – $50 for a private room up to hundreds of dollars if you list your entire house.
  • Note whether or not you allow pets in your listing, and if so, what types and sizes. For instance, you might allow dogs under 30 pounds but not over 30 pounds. If you are listing a private room and have pets of your own, you should make sure to notate that in your listing as well.
  • Mention whether or not your place is kid-friendly. Even if you are listing a single room, somebody may want or need to bring a child along.
  • Make sure to list all amenities, such as wireless internet, cable TV, washer & dryer, pool, etc. Also, mention what popular destinations are in your area and how far you are away from them. You may want to mention your distance from the largest local airport as well.
  • Offer a discount if people stay weekly or monthly (this is good because there is less clean up required and less vacancy).
  • If you are doing renovations or updates, block off dates so that people can’t book during those times.

What to Expect from Airbnb Support

If you have a question about hosting or about a guest, there are live hosting support people available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of the support representatives are located in countries other than the US, but for the most part they are very caring, competent and helpful in getting answers to your questions.

Be Conscious About Reviews

Each person who stays with you has the option to leave a review, and as a host you can leave a review for the guest. Reviews build credibility and move you towards “Super Host” status. Super Host status moves you closer to the top of the list when people search in your area.

Reviews from a guest’s previous hosts can also tell you a lot about whether this person will be a fit for your guest room. And if a guest leaves negative reviews on most or all of the people they have stayed with, you may want to take that into consideration before approving their booking.

Since reviews are such an important part of Airbnb success, it is important to do what you can to make sure the room or house you are listing is welcoming. Here are some tips for creating an inviting atmosphere for your guests.

  • Be sure the room and house are clean. Dust, vacuum or sweep floors, make sure the bedding is fresh and clean and keep the house clutter free.
  • Consider little extras like a hotel would offer. Provide nicely folded towels and washcloths. Offer personal sized soaps, shampoos and other hygiene items. Add bottled water to the room or keep some in the refrigerator.
  • Think about creating a flyer for each room or for the house that shares attractions and good restaurants in your area. Include numbers to Lyft, Uber or the local taxi service.
  • Provide personality plus. Be kind and welcoming, but not intrusive. Let the guest initiate much of the non-essential conversation.

It’s okay to give polite suggestions about reviews as well. While we can’t control what our guests write, we do talk with them about what they want us to write about them and what we’d appreciate them mentioning in their review.

Summary

To maximize your success as an Airbnb host, you want to set yourself apart from other listing so you can help to limit vacancies.

Steve and Annette do this by occasionally sharing dinner with some of their guests. They have had great conversations with their visitors and have even become friends with some of the people who have stayed with them that have subsequently relocated to their state.

While there is a balance between being friendly hosts and intruding on your guests’ personal privacy, by using your guest’s cues to how much privacy they may or may not want to have, you can make each guest’s stay accommodating to their personal preferences.

If a guest seems hesitant to talk, share or spend social time with you, respect that. However, if they open up when asked friendly questions, that may indicate an opportunity for you to share your social skills and offer additional kind gestures like a shared dinner.

Working to make each guest’s stay pleasant to their own personal preferences (at least as many as you can politely discover) will help make your home a popular Airbnb destination and potentially fast track you to Super Host status so you can continue maximizing this popular income stream.

To find out more about Steve and Annette visit their site at MoneySmartFamily.com where they share the thousands of ways they have discovered to save money on everyday items and how those savings have allowed them to live a life free of debt.

7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Finances Right Now

No matter what your current financial position is, you can always improve it. Whether it is by making more money, spending less or shopping around, there is always an area that can be fine-tuned so that you can get closer to achieving your financial goals. To help you with that, below are seven ideas for improving your financial well-being.

1. Make Money Doing Small Tasks

One way to make some extra dough quickly is by doing tasks in your spare time. While there are tons of online opportunities, here are a couple good ones to check out.

Survey Junkie will pay you to take surveys and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. This site is cool because they will pay you instantly with cash via Paypal.

Swagbucks will pay you cash for things you do every day like surfing the internet, watching videos, etc. They have paid out over $194 Million to their members.

Keep in mind, you can sign up for both of these and put more money in your pocket while doing surveys when you have some extra time on your hands.

2. Shop Around Your Auto Insurance

Did you know that you might be able to pay a lot less for insurance if you just get some quotes from other insurance providers? Check out Esurance to see if you can get a lower premium on your auto insurance. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars per year by switching.

Make sure if you are comparing insurance premiums that you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to the coverage provided.

3. Check Your Credit

It is important to know that your credit is in good standing. A couple years ago, my wife had a fraudulent account opened in her name and the only reason we found it was because we checked our credit on a regular basis. We ended up getting her credit report cleaned up, but it could have been worse if we weren’t paying attention.

I use a site called Credit Sesame which will give you your credit score almost instantly for free along with a credit report CARD with a letter grade that shows your utilization. Make sure to check your credit at least a couple of times per year to make sure that there is no fraudulent activity and that your credit is in good order.

4. Refinance Your Mortgage

If you have a mortgage, then DO NOT overlook this option. Because most people take years to pay off a mortgage loan, even the difference of a fraction of a percentage on your interest rate can save you thousands of dollars.

Check out LendingTree to compare different companies so that you can get the best rate.

5. Get Money that is Owed to You

Did you know that there is a way to get money back on purchases that you make if the price drops? A free service called Paribus will search your email account for purchases for sites like Walmart and will credit you the difference if the price drops.

This is a no-brainer because all you have to do is sign-up for free and they take care of the rest.

6. Save Money Using a Robot

There is a free tool called Trim which will cancel your unused subscriptions, find you cash back, and renegotiate your bills for you. The average person saves $30 per bill. All you do is sign up, connect an account and their robotic assistant will email you ways that you can save money.

It is actually really cool and easy to use.

7. Get Paid Driving People Around

If you like meeting new people and need a way to make money on the side, driving for a company like Lyft could be worth checking out. You work the hours you want and the pay is decent. My buddy Ryan makes around $800 per month for driving for people around on the side.

Right now Lyft is guaranteeing new drivers will earn $1,000 the first month, which is pretty sweet.

Bonus: Save Energy and Save Money

Concerned about the environment and want to save money? Now you can with OhmConnect.

OhmConnect will notify you in real time via their app when dirty or unsustainable energy plants come on the grid during peak energy usage times. If you commit to conserving energy during that one hour period, you’ll get paid between $100 and $300 per year.

As you can see there are many ways that you can better your financial situation right now. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.

What are some ways you have improved your finances over the years?

Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.

Lets connect!