Let’s say you have a low income, but you still want to get your debt under control. Sound far-fetched? Well yes, that can be challenging — but it’s doable.
Here’s how to get out of debt on minimum wage.
Don’t Create More Debt
It’s rarely a good idea to “rob Peter to pay Paul,” as the old saying goes, particularly if you’re trying to pay down debt. Shuffling debt around is a kind of financial mirage unless you’re opening a card to take advantage of a promotional 0% annualized percentage rate introductory period.
Consolidating your debt into a personal loan with an interest rate that’s lower than what you’re paying overall is an exception as well. We’ll cover that in a bit more detail below.
However, don’t unnecessarily open new credit cards or take out frivolous loans. You should also put a halt to all nonessential spending.
Determine Your Debt Load
You may not want to do it, but you need to look square at your debt. You need to figure out exactly how much you owe if you’re serious about getting out of debt on minimum wage. Next to each principal balance, list late fees, the interest rate, and any likely penalties.
Establish A Budget
The aim here is to know exactly where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Write down all your income sources and all your fixed monthly expenses, such as your car payments.
Once you figure out the difference between your income and your fixed expenses, you’ll know how much you have to put toward your debt and variable expenses such as clothes and groceries.
Calculate precisely how much money you should put aside monthly for variable expenses you can’t cut out – groceries, for example – then use the balance to pay down debt.
Tackle The Smallest Debts First
Knocking out your smallest debts – say, a $250 car repair bill – will give you the confidence to pay off the bigger ones. It will help to instill in you the idea that living debt-free is both a real possibility and a worthwhile goal.
Start Going After Larger Debts
Now that you’ve paid off the smaller bills, you’re ready to go at your larger debts. One way to do that is making minimum payments on each, then using the remainder to erase the debt with the highest interest. This will allow you to keep more of your income each month.
Make Extra Money
If it’s a struggle to eliminate debt with the money you have coming in, it’s time to earn extra cash. There is no shortage of potential ways to make money in your spare time online. Maybe ride-sharing or dog sitting would work for you. Ask your family and friends for their suggestions. Then put that extra income on your debts.
Consider Debt Consolidation
If you’re having trouble managing monthly payments or sticking to your budget, debt consolidation may be a good option. Debt consolidation is taking out a loan to combine your existing debts into a single debt with one payment of the same amount each month. Such a loan can lower the total interest you owe on the debt and help you pay it off faster. Because you only have a single payment each month, consolidation also simplifies bill paying.
. Bottom line: you CAN get out of debt on minimum wage, but you need to make a plan … and be disciplined enough to stick to it.