Sadly, most people never take steps towards paying off debt -- they just keep making the minimum payments month after month because they don't believe they have enough money in their budget to pay down their debt any faster. If you just make the minimum payments, you'll likely be paying off your debt for decades, and you'll struggle to get ahead financially. It's absolutely essential that you find ways to squeeze some extra money from your budget and put it towards paying down those debts. Here are some simple ways to do just that.
Cancel cable subscriptions.
How much do you pay for cable every month? Many people write checks for $80 or $100 to the cable company each month, yet they only watch a few channels. Cancel your cable service, and instead subscribe to an online streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. You'll save a bundle to throw towards debt and still be able to watch television.
Cancel your gym membership.
Canceling your gym membership does not have to mean getting fat and lazy. Work out outside instead -- it's free. Go to local parks and jog around for 45 minutes. Walk the dog around your neighborhood. Do some yoga by the local pond. You'll stay fit, and you'll have more cash left to throw towards your debt.
Switch to a cheaper grocery store.
Shopping at that upscale, hipster, all-organic grocery store might be enjoyable, but you're probably overspending. Switch to a discount grocery store, and you'll be surprised how much you save. If there are specialty items you can't find in these stores, then pick those up at the higher-end grocery store. But there's no reason to pay $4 for spaghetti at the fancy store when you can buy it for $1 at the discount store.
Sell the clothes you no longer wear.
Stores like Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor will buy your gently used clothing and re-sell it. Instead of letting it sit in your closet and collect dust, take it to one of these shops and exchange it for cash that you can put towards your debt. You can even try listing some of your higher-value items on websites like Ebay.
Downgrade your cosmetics and toiletries.
Do you really need that $80 department store moisturizer, or will a drugstore brand do the same thing for less? Why not buy generic laundry soap instead of the name brand that costs 5 times as much? Many people are afraid to try generic and lower-cost products, but once they do, they realize that the main difference between cheaper and high-end products is the label. Downgrade to cheaper brands or generics, and you could save hundreds to put towards debt.
If these small steps aren't enough to make much of a dent in what you owe, you may want to meet with a financial planning specialist for more info on changes you can make to get out of debt sooner.