Got 13 Minutes? This Simple Plan Will Help You Tackle Your Debt

Woman in city
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder
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Any amount of debt is overwhelming. And when something’s overwhelming, we tend to procrastinate — or even shut down entirely.

We’re human, after all. Sometimes the problem seems so big that the main obstacle is simply knowing where to start.

But making a plan to pay off debt doesn’t have to be too complicated. It’s just a matter of sitting down and focusing. It takes less time than you might think.

If you’ve got 13 minutes to spare, we’ve got a list of tips for putting together a rock-solid plan for paying off your debt.

Deep breath. Ready to learn how to pay off debt?

1. Let This Company Pay off Your Credit Cards

When you think about how much debt you have, you might feel a little anxious.

That’s where a company like Fiona can be helpful. It can help you find personalized lending options to refinance or consolidate your debt to potentially save thousands of dollars in interest.

Fiona will show you all the lenders willing to help you pay off your credit card and eliminate the headache of paying bills by allowing you to make one payment each month.

Pro Tip

Debt consolidation simplifies your monthly payments and can lower your interest rate, saving you thousands of dollars over the life of your debt.

If your credit score is at least 620, you can borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) and compare interest rates, which start at 3.84%. The idea is to secure a loan at a lower interest rate, potentially helping you save thousands. Repayment plans range from 24 to 84 months.

Take, for example, Katherine, who faced $12,000 in credit-card debt. Holding her back? The 15.24% interest rate. By refinancing with a 5%-interest, seven-year personal loan, she saved $12,000 in interest.

If she’d kept on the same road, she would have paid something like $14,000 in interest alone over 25 years. Yikes.

So even if you’re simply curious about what’s out there, know that checking rates on Fiona won’t hurt your credit score — and can probably save you in interest.

Total time: Three minutes.

2. Prioritize the Right Debt Using This Tool

One of the toughest parts of paying down your debts is simply knowing where to begin.

To create a rebuilding plan, you have to first know what you’re dealing with.

Do you have credit card debt? Is your name attached to any unpaid loans? Are you behind on medical or utility bills you didn’t know about?

Your credit report will give you this information.

You can get a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score, and how to address it.

Total time: Two minutes.

3. Cut $100 of Expenses From Your Monthly Budget

We’ve found some digital tools that’ll help you find hidden cash and a better deal on car insurance.

Hidden cash: Before you start hashing out a plan to tackle your debt, it’ll make you feel better to find areas in your life where you can save. Then you can funnel that money directly toward those outstanding balances.

Sure, a lot of us know how to save money on groceries, but what about everything else?

For consistent savings, download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees. On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

Cheaper car insurance: You’re probably overpaying for auto 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.

Total time: Four minutes.

4. Start a Side Hustle, and Earn an Extra $100/Month

You’d be surprised how quickly you can set yourself up to earn an extra $100 a month. Lots of websites exist just to hook you up with particular kinds of side gigs, and they make it easy and quick to sign up.

Earning just a bit more each month can help you get out of debt much faster.

You could try your hand at:

  • Transcription
  • Data entry
  • Walking dogs
  • Driving for a rideshare service
  • Delivering food from restaurants to hungry people
  • Teaching English to Chinese kids on the internet
  • Listing your spare room for one-night rentals

Online networks will jump to connect you with clients for your dog-walking or transcription or data entry services.

There are a ton of side gigs out there. You just have to choose one that matches your talents and interests, and sign up!

Total time: Four minutes.

Just Like That, Now You Have a Plan

So, boom boom boom, take those four steps and now you’ve got a plan. And it you took less time than it takes to get caught up on your friends’ Snapchat stories.

Now you:

  • Know exactly which debts to prioritize
  • Refinanced your high-interest credit cards
  • Are adding $200 per month month to your bottom line. That’s $200 per month that can help knock out the principal on your debts!

Don’t let your debt overwhelm you. Stop procrastinating. Stop worrying about your debt and take action.

You’ll feel so much better.


Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. When it comes to finances, she’s a professional procrastinator.