7 Creative Ways to Pay off Debt for People With Way Too Many Bills

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When the phrase “It’s fun to” comes up in conversation, it’s probably not followed by “pay off credit card debt.”

Paying off debt is associated with living under a rock, eating ramen noodles and cutting the bottom off your toothpaste tube to get the last bit — none of which are very fun.

But here’s the thing: Paying off debt doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t even mean reverting to listening to concerts from outside the venue and eating your friend’s leftovers from your favorite restaurant.  

Here’s How to Pay off Debt and Still Have a Life

Achieving freedom from debt just means getting creative with the resources available to you. And we love getting creative. Here are some clever ways to pay off your credit card debt without giving up fun.

1. Figure out Exactly What You Owe

To pay off all your debt, you have to know how much you owe.

Um, duh?

Seriously though, when’s the last time you looked at all your debts and their interest rates to devise a payoff plan?

That’s what I thought.

A really easy way to do this is to get a “credit report card” from Credit SesameCredit Sesame is like your favorite teacher from high school — without the pop quizzes.

It gives you a free credit score, plus lays out your credit history so you can see exactly how much money you owe and to whom and makes recommendations on how you can improve things.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

2. Let This Company Help You Pay That Debt off

man using phone and checking credit card
Plamen Resseleshki/Getty Images

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card and student loan interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is Credible, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Through Credible, you can borrow $1,000 to $50,000 with a loan term of two to five years, at interest rates ranging from 4.99% to 35.99%. The interest rates you’re offered will depend on your individual credit profile.

That’s one of the ways John DePrato got rid of his $65,000 in student loans saving him over $7,000 in interest.

Refinancing high-interest debt can lower your payments and save you a lot of money, so you won’t have to feel bad about partaking in happy hour.

3. Make Extra Money While You Watch TV

man drinking beer on couch with dog
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

For those times you choose the frugal route and stay in for the night, why not cash in on your free time? Survey sites aren’t the fastest way to earn money, but they’re a great way to build a little savings while you veg out.

Here are two of our favorites:

  • InboxDollars offers several short, daily surveys, and you’ll get a $5 bonus for signing up. Plus, you get to earn cash, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging points. Check out how one college student pocketed $600 with InboxDollars. Her secret? Persistence.
  • MyPoints: This platform lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.

4. Stop Deleting Your Emails 

woman out shopping in the city
PeopleImages/Getty Images

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Aimee B. got a $1,000 back from Paribus while juggling a corporate 9-to-5 career and raising her son.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

5. Save Your Digital Change

Dana Sitar reviewing apps on phone and laptop at home
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up your credit or debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change.

That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Once you hit $5, Acorns will automatically invest it.

The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $420 a year with the app!

Acorns will give Penny Hoarders a $5 bonus for signing up and average interest earning is around 7%.

Passive income!

6. Use This $720 to Pay Down Your Debt

valentinrussanov/Getty Images

You’re probably overpaying for car insurance. And how would you know, really?

Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

7. Save Money on Every Gallon Pumped — Automatically

Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re a savvy saver, you probably already use GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest gas station in town. It’s an easy — and free — way to avoid overpaying.

But once you pull up to the pump, here’s something else you can do: Swipe your Pay with GasBuddy card to automatically save 10 cents per gallon on your first purchase (and 5 cents per gallon after that).

The free discount card is tied directly to your checking account. It works at 95% of gas stations throughout the country, so you don’t have to drive around town just to find “your” station. Plus, you don’t have to wait for a rebate — it’s immediate savings.

Simply and securely sign up through GasBuddy. Connect your bank account, enter your address, and GasBuddy will put a card in the mail.