“Hello everyone! Today I have another great guest post about tips and tricks to quickly and easily repay loans & debts from Jamie Dalzell, who is a freelance writer for Reality Copywriting and who has written for numerous online and print publications in his time. Hope you’ll enjoy it!” – Vincent
We probably don’t need to tell you that one small loan or credit card can quickly snowball into another, and another, and another…
Before long? You’re facing a lifetime of overwhelming debts, high interest rates, and repayments as far as the eye can see. If you’re not proactive in tackling these debts as they arise, you could soon find yourself living a life of sleepless nights and stress-filled days.
That’s no way to live your best financial life, which is why today we’re taking a look at some great strategies that’ll help you quickly and easily (comparatively speaking!) pay off your loans. So if you find yourself struggling with debt, keep reading and you might find some top tips that’ll give you the upper hand you need to gain the upperhand.
Let’s first take a look at how you’re paying off your loans, and which ones you’re paying.
1. Repay your high interest loans first
There are numerous loan repayment methods out there, and it’s well worth doing some research to find an approach that best suits your current financial situation.
One of the most popular approaches is referred to as ‘The debt snowball’ method, which sees you minimising the total interest you pay on your loans by tackling high interest debts first.
If you want to try this yourself? It’s easy! All you have to do is make one big, long list of all of your outstanding loans, including personal loans and credit cards as well as other debts. We know, it might look scary, but there’s no gain without a little pain.
Next, place these debts in order, with the highest interest rates at the top and the lowest at the bottom. From here – while ensuring you’re making at least your minimum required payments on your other loans – throw everything you have at the first loan on that list.
Once that loan is payed off? Move to the second-highest, and so on and so forth.
By knocking off the loans with the highest rates first, you’ll save more than a few dollars in interest over the life of your loans.
2. No matter what, don’t skip loan repayments
Life is unpredictable, and your finances are no different. This is why you should always be prepared to deal with a time you might not be able to make your loan repayments.
Whether you’re facing a financial emergency or your budget’s simply tightened, don’t panic. Panic is what leads people to brush these worries aside, under the carpet, or into the closet, and pretend they don’t exist.
Ignoring the issue isn’t a quick fix. In fact, the only quick thing about it is how quickly it will make things worse. You’ll be left facing late fees and charges which could see your interest rate rise, as well as count against your credit history. If you have high hopes of gaining a line of low interest credit in the future, this is the last thing you want!
Instead, get in touch with your lender. Shoot them an email, pick up the phone, or drop into your local branch and let them know what’s up. More often than not, they’ll work with you to arrange a payment plan that ensures they get their money back, and you’re able to meet your repayments.
3. Avoid making some of these common mistakes
Mistakes are a part of everyday life. They’re how we learn, grow, and improve. But when it comes to your finances? Financial lessons can make for some unnecessarily costly blunders!
People might say you need to experience things yourself to learn from them, yet when it’s your finances at risk, we think you can make an exception.
Here’s a few you should keep an eye out for when you’re dealing with loans and lenders:
- Avoid adding to your debts!
Spend wisely, and try to pay off any outstanding loans before you apply for another.
- Automate the process!
Let’s face it, life’s difficult enough without making it more difficult for yourself, so set up automatic transfers to ensure you’re paying off your loans on time and avoiding costly late fees.
- Don’t go in without a plan!
Knowledge is power, so take stock of your current financial situation and come up with a plan of attack that best suits you.
4. Commit to a fortnightly payment schedule…and stick to it!
Like most people, chances are you pay your loans on a monthly basis. While this approach makes them easy to manage, it isn’t the quickest or most effective way to repay your loans. In fact, it could be costing you money.
Let me explain!
What you want to be doing, is making your payments on a fortnightly basis. In doing so, you’ll bring the total down that much quicker, so when interest is calculated – which usually happens each month – there’ll be less to calculate it on. Easy!
Even better, by switching to fortnightly payments you’ll also make an additional payment each and every year. While this might not sound like much, every cent helps get you to your goal that much quicker, and save you money in the process!
Just a note before you do this: check with your lender and ensure there aren’t any fees or charges associated with making extra payments, or repaying your loan early. Only a select few lenders usually charge for something like this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
5. Make extra repayments
Are you unable to commit to making payments more regularly? Not to worry! Even just the one extra payment each and every year can make a world of difference, especially if you know your loans are going to be with you for a while.
Maybe you’re earned a bonus at work? Received a tax refund? Maybe a cash gift for a birthday? Rather than throw this money into savings, consider putting this towards your loans. We know, it sounds boring, but it’ll save you money in the long run.
This extra payment doesn’t need to come all at once, either.
To make it easier, work out the cost of your regular payment, and then split this over the course of the year and the number of payments you make. Finding an extra $10-$25 every months is a lot easier than finding a few hundred dollars in a lump sum.
Little extra payments all add up over the course of the year, resulting in less interest paid over the life of the loan, and a shorter term, too!
6. Turn your hobbies into moneymakers
‘I don’t have enough money to pay off my loans quicker!’ is, unfortunately, a phrase that’s all too common among those struggling with debt. Day-to-day living expenses like food and utility bills can be difficult enough, let alone the added pressure to find enough money to throw at a debt that just seems to get bigger. We get you. We’ve been there, done that. It’s no fun.
It’s here that everyone and their dog will throw in their metaphorical $0.02. Make more money! Just find more money! If only those $0.02 were literal, right? Then you might be able to afford your repayments!
Advice doesn’t help you here, but practical advice does. Which is why we’re going to avoid telling you to ‘Just make more money!’, and give you a few money-making ideas.
One of these is turning your hobbies or passions into moneymakers. Do you have friends or family who always compliment your craft projects or your baking? Then think about selling these at community events or online via Facebook groups or sites like Etsy. Know your way around a musical instrument? Consider offering your services as a tutor on the weekends.
The main message here is that if you already devote your time to a hobby or side hustle, think outside the box and consider some of the ways you could start making money for the time you’re already investing. You might be surprised at what you find!Everyone can start a side hustle: it’s always a matter of “making time” versus “having time”!Click To Tweet
7. Cut back on unnecessary spending
No, we’re not asking you to go without. That’s pretty poor advice that’s trotted out more often than not! Just because you have debts to pay, doesn’t mean you should have to give up things you enjoy: It isn’t the role of the poor or those facing financial hardship to play the part! We all have to live.
So no, we’re not asking you to cancel your Netflix subscription. Just double check and see if you still need the super-duper HD package that sings, dances, and streams to 83 different devices. Maybe you’re still buying music when you could brave an ad or two and listen via Spotify for free? Or perhaps you’re on an expensive mobile plan but don’t use anywhere near the minutes, data, or txts you’re paying for.
As you can see, you don’t need to cut out every expense you have. Instead we’re simply suggesting you take another look at your budget and trim around the edges wherever possible, making a smarter use of the money you have and putting this money towards paying off your loans that much quicker.
8. Throw a garage sale
Sure, it might sound a little kitsch, but the modern garage sale can net you a healthy chunk of cash!
Granted, we’re not asking you to empty your house of all worldly possessions just to pay off your debts – yes, you can keep your bed – what is worth looking at are any bits and pieces that are sitting around in storage, in the attic, or up high on a shelf gathering dust.
Did the kids take up a sport and dump it just as quickly? That foray into rollerblading hit a dead end when you hit that tree? Unwanted gifts that have sat in a box out of that stomach-churning mix of guilt and fear? Have a look around your home. You might be surprised just how much stuff there is, and how little of it you actually still use.
As for getting the word out? The good old sign and sausage sizzle – or barbecue as it’s known elsewhere in the world! – is a good start, but you might also want to consider a digital garage sale instead. Jump onto Facebook and find groups in your local area or town. Throw up an announcement or, even easier, simply list them online via sites like Craigslist or eBay. You should be raking in the debt-paying cash in no time!
9. Pay more!
We know, we make it sound so simple.
Hold on a sec, I’ll just pick a few $100 bills off the money tree out the back!
While we’re not suggesting you pull some money out of thin air, what is worth doing is taking a closer look at your budget and how your finances have changed over time. What you could afford when you first applied for a loan isn’t necessarily what you can afford now, and vice versa. Maybe you’ve received a promotion? Have moved to a higher paying job? Household expenses no longer as high?
If you’re repaying debts and loans, chances are you already have a budget in place – if not, get one! – but a budget is far from a static thing. It’s something you should revisit on a regular basis to ensure the money you have is being spent in the right place.
When revisiting your budget, ensure you’re doing the basics right. Are you prioritizing your expenses? Are you keeping the credit cards locked up when you go out? Are you putting any excess cash towards your outstanding loans?
If you find you have some spare cash that’s floating around that may be sitting in savings or wasting away in your account, consider increasing your regular loan or debt repayments first and foremost.
Money sitting in an account will only earn a handful of percent interest at best, while your loans or debts may be charged at 5, 10, 15% if not more. Putting this extra money towards loans will save you more money than you’d earn with it sitting around, and you’ll pay back your loans that much quicker, saving yourself money in the long term!
10. Consider settling or consolidating your loans
Do you have multiple loans? Snowed in under an avalanche of debts? If these other methods just aren’t cutting through like you hoped they would, it might be time to consider other options.
The likes of debt settlement and consolidation are all viable options that best suit different people at different stages of their financial lives. The simplest and easiest of these is debt consolidation, which sees you combining all of your loans, credit, and other outstanding debts into one repayment.
How does this work? You apply for a debt consolidation loan via a bank, credit union, or other provider and then use this to pay off your outstanding debts. What you’re left with at the end is the one loan to repay, often with a lower interest rate than your other loans.
These debt consolidation loans also often come with a longer term, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that it makes it easier to meet your payments, and curse in so much as it extends the amount of time you’ll spend paying back the loan (and paying interest!).
That said, there’s nothing stopping you from using the tips and tricks here to pay off this debt consolidation loan that much quicker, and use it to your advantage. If you’re planning on knocking off this loan as quickly as you can, the lower interest rate could save you some big money in interest.
At the end of the day, whether debt consolidation or one of the many other options is best for you depends on the specifics of your finances. All you need to know is that there are options out there, and they’re all well worth exploring.
11. Stop borrowing money
Are your credit cards maxed out? Loan form sitting half-complete on your dining room table? Unless you’re considering debt consolidation, don’t hit send on those applications just yet!
Why? It’s a pretty simple equation: if you’re wanting to get out of debt as fast as you can, the last thing you should be doing is applying for additional loans, credit cards, or other lines of finance. If not, you’ll just be backfilling the debt hole you’re trying so hard to dig yourself out of.
Best of all, the solution for this one’s super simple: close the application window, put the form through the shredder, and lock away your credit cards in a drawer and throw away the key. You don’t want to undo all of your hard work in a moment of retail therapy weakness. You’re gonna get there, you just have to help yourself along the way!
Jamie Dalzell is a freelance writer for Reality Copywriting, who’s written for numerous online and print publications in his time. With a keen interest in all things personal finance, he aims to create interesting, insightful, and above all else helpful content that aids others in their own financial lives.