Many Paths To Take To Become Debt Free

If you have ever experienced the huge weight that comes from being in debt, than you understand that you would do almost anything to get out of debt.

I have talked about my debt repayment plan, as well as whats more important than getting out of debt. That doesn’t however change the fact that I would LOVE to be out of debt NOW.

So I have thought of three possible ways to get out of debt, please keep in mind these are really only going to fit my situation. It’s my hope that it helps you in some way to get out of debt, but it is in no way a suggestion on what you should do.

Loan Consolidation

Many of my credit cards have high interest, one as high as 24%. I know I could find a loan for much less interest than that. Lending Tree for instance offers a wide variety of loans that I could apply for to put all of my debt in one place and have one payment.

Also I have received several offers for this type of loan, that would save me hundreds if not thousands over the course of the loans.

What I like about this method of paying off my debt is two main things. First, that it put’s all of my debt in one place rather than all over the place. Second, it lowers my interest and would save me a ton of money.

What I don’t like is that, this method doesn’t really get rid of my debt. Sure it may save money, and may even help me pay down the debt quicker but, it doesn’t get rid of the debt.

Not only that but some of the best debt consolidation loans actually penalize you for paying the loan off early. So, if I did work at it harder to get the loan paid off I may be stuck in paying the payment for the duration of the loan. Not exactly a good way to get the debt down, more of moving the debt from one place to another.

Work Harder

If you look at my income reports, you’ll clearly see that I’m doing a lot of different things to make extra money.

If I were to truly buckle down focus on getting freelance clients, on actually getting my real estate license, on driving for lyft more often, and on finally monetizing the site. Then, I could possibly have the extra income to pay off the credit cards by the end of the year.

What I like with this idea is that it is completely up to me to do. At the end of it if I don’t succeed I have no one to blame but myself. I also like that these side hustles become more of a necessary and less of a hobby for me.

It would be nice to simply focus on these things and kind of push the rest of my life aside. Not entirely obviously but I could stand to watch less TV, to get more reading, and writing done. To exercise more, and most important to work on my side hustles the way they should be worked on.

What I don’t like here is that this would take time from other things. I have certain shows I like watching, I have gone weeks and even months without watching them before, with no negative effect. In fact most things that take too much time away from my side hustles I could get rid of completely and it would be to my benefit.

Also, my wife already thinks I spend a lot of time working on the side hustles. Though she is now very supportive in my endeavors, it does frustrate her that I spend time on other things rather than spending time with her.

Use 401k

When I turned 18 I did possibly the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I opened up a 401k through my employer and put in the minimum amount that is required for them to match.

This year is my 10th year with the company and 9th since I opened the 401k. After all these years the amount in there is enough to pay off the credit cards completely.

What I like about doing this is that it takes care of the debt all at once. I don’t have to continue to work hard (though I’m not sure at this point I would ever stop). It will save somewhere between 500 and 1500 dollars on interest, depending on how long it would have taken me to pay off the cards. And, it gets this massive weight off my shoulders quickly.

What I don’t like is that I would have to pay a penalty on the money, not to mention taxes. I would also be canceling out my debt and really be sacrificing years of savings to get there, not to mention the compound interest that I would miss out by removing it so early in life.

Conclusion

The best thing about personal finance is that it is “personal”. If I do any of these three options I will not be the first, nor the last.

All three options are right, and all three options are wrong. I can look at all of them and find the benefit as well as the draw back to them.

The good thing is I don’t have to decide right now, yes I’m deep in debt and want to get out. I cannot wait for this burden to be gone.

But when my debt is gone it won’t be the end of the journey, it will just be me becoming the best “future me” in the moment. As we all want to be.

Which option would you pick? Are there other options I didn’t think of? What are some of your pro’s and con’s of these ideas? Let me know in the comments.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and Thrifty Meets Spendy

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Many Paths To Take To Become Debt Free”

  1. Great point that personal finance is “personal.” I see too much rigid advice (using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’). I think the key is that you have to know yourself and know what works best for you. Make your decisions with your eyes wide open so-to-speak. When it comes to getting out of debt there are tons of strategies that could work. I like making a little extra money and using half of it towards debt (I call this the 50% Solution) and spending the other half. That way you get to reward yourself and at the same time aggressively pay down debt.

    1. That’s a wonderful idea of spending some of the extra income. My wife doesn’t like me doing all this work and not seeing any benefit for it so by spending it I could show her the benefits of working hard.

      I also find it difficult when people tell you the “rules” of finance. Everyone’s situation is different and they need to make their decisions based on that. It’s great to get advice from many people it does help make you think of things you never thought of before.

  2. Great post! While it’s is always your choice, personally (I too am working my way out of debt) I’d consider anything except for taking from my 401k, I think of it as money that belongs to future me and I don’t want to rob future me to pay off past me’s mistakes. Good luck!

    1. I tend to agree with you there Liz. To be honest the 401k is AN option but it’s kind of like. If a building falls on me and there are no other options I’ll consider having my leg cut off. I would do almost anything to not use the 401k, it’s just one of those things that I want to make sure I know is available.

  3. I beg you to NOT use the 401K option. In the end, I don’t know if it would be worth it. I kind of consider retirement money as sacred money. It should never be touched until retirement. In my opinion, it seems like a personal loan might be the better option. Search for one that won’t penalize you for early pay-off. They are out there. I believe Discover offers personal loans with no penalties like that.

    Also, if it is an option, you might consider a balance transfer with a promotional period. I don’t know your full story, so I don’t know if that’s an option. It saved my husband and me hundreds in interest though. Good luck with whatever option you choose.

    1. No need to beg Liz, I have no intention of using my 401k. I don’t want to take any option completely off the table that’s why I mentioned it.

      I have looked at the discover loan and am strongly considering doing that just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Thanks for stopping by I really appreciate your input

  4. Really good point about personal finance being personal. I think you have to figure out what works best for you. I wouldn’t want to take from the 401(k) if I could otherwise hustle away the debt. Could you give your wife a time period so she knows how long she’d have to deal with it?

    1. Hi Jamie, I actually sat down with the wife and explained that I was going to spend most of April doing any side-hustle projects that come to me. She understands and has even started helping me out with some of my projects. Shipping to amazon, editing my posts, and taking care of the house chores so I don’t have to do them. She is a great woman that helps me more than I deserve.

  5. I really like that you’re full considering 3 very different options and will undoubtedly make the best choice for you. You’re putting the PERSONAL in personal finance, and I love it!

    I second Jamie. I think that if your wife had a time frame it may help? I’m assuming she’s aware of the situation, but is she also aware of the progress? Maybe if she sees the numbers moving in the right direction with her own eyes, she’ll come around to your side hustlin’? (I’m very data-driven so I always think numbers help an argument). Or, could you go beast mode on the side hustle for one month and show her how much of an impact it can have? Any way you could get her involved in your side hustles or one of her own?

    In any case, I don’t have the answers! It’s personal and I know you’ll find the right combo of factors to attack your debt.

    1. Hi Miss Thrifty, I actually am in “beast-mode” for the month of April. I got my first freelance client, I am going to finally finish getting this site to where I want it. I’m also tutoring a few people to help them pass the pharmacy technician certification, and sending more to amazon than ever before.

      My wife is helping as much she can and she is definitely on board with getting the debt numbers down.

      1. Tyler, That’s great to hear! I get annoyed when my guy spends too much time on what I deem vague projects instead of doing fun stuff with me. I especially get annoyed with the hours of work in the evenings and weekends that he’s not paid for. However, since I see that he’s received raises and promotions for it, I’m more willing to give up some shared time. There’s a definite partner buy-in with self-improvement, and the same goes with side hustles. It’s wonderful that your lady is so supportive. Your leads for this next month sound promising and I’m sure you’ll update us with your April (aka BEAST MONTH, haha) progress!

  6. Side hustling is my favorite way to up your debt repayments – especially since so much of it is in your control and you’re able to stop or cut back on your hustles once you are out of debt. But you’re right, it’s a personal decision, so you’ve got to go with what will work best for you!

    1. Hey Mel, yea side hustling is awesome. The more work I do the more I get out of it. It does take time from other things but I thing that eventually I can either do enough side work to get out of debt and then stop. Or, I could get out of debt then leave my 9 to 5 and only do side income.

  7. It’s always good to know you have options. Another option I’d consider (and maybe you have already) is cutting back on expenses and putting that money toward debt. Personally if it were me, I’d try to find a consolidation loan that allowed early repayment, and combine that with side hustles and cutting expenses. I’d stay away from the 401k because the money and time you’ve already invested for retirement will be hard to replace.

    1. Hi Gary, I truly think the best thing I could do is a combination of cutting costs, side-hustling, and get a consolidation loan. I would prefer to keep my 401k right where it is and let compound interest do it’s thing.

  8. I had to circle back around and make another comment 🙂 I am glad you pointed out the fact that using a 401K to pay off debt is very expensive. In fact for most people, it is about 35% expensive. Since the money will be taxed at your marginal tax bracket, most of us are in the 25% marginal bracket (or higher – especially if you have a working spouse) + the 10% federal penalty for early withdrawal. That is crazy expensive! But there are a few rare instances where it could make sense and that is why it is good to understand the BIG PICTURE before pulling money out of a 401K! I want to retire well, but I also want to live well in the meantime. So there are many factors to consider.

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