Still carrying around some holiday debt from 2017? You’re not alone — this is an entirely common situation many entrepreneurs find themselves (and their credit cards) in at the start of the new year. We all know that the best method for paying off debt is to pay it off in full, but what if you can’t? What then? We rounded up financial pros and small business experts to share their tips for how to realistically strategize on paying off what you owe.
1. Stay organized with an Excel spreadsheet.
“Here is my practical advice for eliminating debt, which I state in my book Dating Your Investments. Start by compiling a list of all your debts in an Excel spreadsheet and categorize them from lowest to highest balance due. Take how much you make per month and subtract 10% for savings and the rest of your monthly expenses. After that, put the rest of your net income towards the first and lowest debt and pay it off as quickly as you possibly can, moving down the list. Continue this method, which does take a lot of self-discipline, and you will pay off those debts and hopefully be set up not to accrue any more next year!” — Spencer Chambers, Owner, The Chambers Organization
2. Make the best of what you already have.
“I was able to effectively get rid of my holiday debt by turning unused and unwanted assets into liquid cash. From selling unwanted holiday gifts and gift cards to converting miles and rewards points, there are a number of ways to go about doing this and the cash adds up in a hurry.” — Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager, Maple Holistics
3. Create a budget and stick to it!
“I think consumers need to set a strict budget that includes payments towards the debt. It may seem obvious, but I’ve found that many people just blindly go into managing their money and don’t really track their spending or saving. Consumers in debt should figure out what income they have each month, subtract out the absolutely necessary expenses, and try to prioritize a debt payment that is more than the minimum. This will help them save money in interest and will expedite their repayment.” — David Rathmanner, VP of Content, LendEDU
4. Cut out unnecessary expenses.
“Don’t eat out for three months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average American household spends about $3,154 a year eating out, which is about $262 per month. This simple trick could save you almost $800 over the course of three months, which leaves $200 left on the $1,000 of holiday debt the average American accrues.” — J.R. Duren, Personal Finance Expert, HighYa.com
5. Take on an extra side gig.
“I eliminated $2,000 in holiday debt last year by taking on a side hustle dog-sitting to bring in extra income. I used that money to make extra credit card payments. My debt was spread across two cards, so I focused my extra payments on the card with a higher interest rate first to save more money over the long run.” — Kat Tretina, Finance Writer, Student Loan Hero
“If paying down debt is taking longer than expected, try a side hustle to earn some extra cash. In today’s generation if you have a computer, car or skill you can easily generate a second income. Bringing in extra cash to throw at your debt is the best way to pay down debt faster without going over your budget or living on a tight expense plan.” — Natasha Rachel Smith, Personal Finance Expert, TopCashback.com
6. Pay down what you owe in order of interest rates.
“My recommended strategy to get rid of any holiday debt is the avalanche method. With this
method, consumers pay off all their accounts in order from the highest interest rate to the least. They make the minimum payment on every account, but pay as much as they can toward the account with the highest interest rate until it is paid off. This method minimizes the total amount of interest paid while paying off the debt.” — Jacob Lunduski, Director of Community Outreach, CreditCardInsider.com
7. Plan and compare costs when traveling.
“The more you can plan to minimize debt before you actually travel will allow you to enjoy your vacation stress-free and avoid those post-break blues brought on by a big bill when you return. Use travel comparison tools to find the best deals on flights, accommodation and currency exchange rates, then budget for each day that you’ll be away.” — Jennifer McDermott, Consumer Advocate, finder.com
8. Consider using a balance transfer.
“Consolidating your debt with a credit card balance transfer will give you a grace period with 0% interest, which can extend close to two years in some cases. While this alone won’t wave goodbye to your debt, the amount you can pay down on your principal before interest kicks in will shape every subsequent repayment for the better.” — Jennifer McDermott, Consumer Advocate, finder.com
9. Leave the credit cards at home.
“Don’t accumulate more debt in addition to your already existing debt. I recommend leaving the credit cards at home and start paying with cash. Limiting yourself to cash allows you to only purchase items you truly need and deters impulse spending.” — Natasha Rachel Smith, Personal Finance Expert, TopCashback.com
10. Start saving earlier.
“To clear the loan amount of the credit card, first cut down all the monthly expenses for the next few months to at least 10% than earlier months. Find a part-time job for the leisure times or weekends which can provide some more cash. Do not spend money for the things which are not needed. By these you can easily gather the extra amount which will help you to pay off the debt load and hence this is the easiest strategy to get rid of holiday credit card debt sooner.” — Andrei Vasilescu, CEO and Digital Marketing Specialist, DontPayFull
11. Set up automatic payments.
“An easy and efficient way to start paying off your holiday debt is to set up recurring payments, which is much easier than it may sound. By simply calling your bank or utilizing one of the many user-friendly financial apps, you can start saving in no time. Determine a reasonable time frame for you to pay off the balance, set the payment amount accordingly, and watch your holiday debt disappear.” — Sacha Ferrandi, Founder & Head Principal, Source Capital Funding, Inc.
12. Keep paying it off — and stay positive!
“Paying off debt can be easy if you stick with a plan and stay disciplined. If you don’t meet your desired debt payoff timeframe, don’t get discouraged and give yourself more time. Remain positive and have patience. Your debt will be paid off slowly but surely!” — Natasha Rachel Smith, Personal Finance Expert, TopCashback.com
Once your debt has been paid off, it’s time to get back to business. Give us a call at 1-877-692-6772, or visit us at mycorporation.com for all of your small business needs!