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What is the quickest way to get out of debt?

Are you in over your head and have you been wondering what is the quickest way to get out of debt?

What is the quickest way to get out of debt

Let’s assume for starters that you are not thinking of dropping everything and taking on a new identity. Let’s say that you would like to keep your life and everything else that comes with it, you are just looking to get rid of debt as quickly as possible.

So we have eliminated leaving a pile of clothes on a beach somewhere, or clandestine one-way submarine trips to an undisclosed location in South America. Though I am sure we have all played with such fantasies at times.

Lone swimmer

Tradeoffs

You did say the quickest right? Well in some respects that is also likely to be the most painful or at least the most demanding.

Let’s say you have already followed the advice explained in this article on recommended debt relief programs.

If you have a debt relief program that has accepted to work with you. They will likely present you with options involving consolidating your debt into a single loan that the debt relief provider will then manage.

When you negotiate with your debt relief provider, you can opt for a plan that resolves your debt on the fastest practical track. With a debt relief provider that would normally be a minimum of 2 years.

How demanding?

How tough you want to make it on yourself will to some extent be up to you, within reason. A debt relief provider will likely prevent you from imposing measures of economy on yourself that they consider too harsh. You might think you can eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches for a year but in reality, a debt relief provider is unlikely to let you try.

Hard times

A plan

An expenditure plan is always going to be a necessary component of getting rid of your debt. Plan your expenditures. Make sure you have enough to cover the essential bills like rent, electricity, gas, insurance, and food.

If you are really serious about doing this quickly could you do without your phone, unless you need it for work? Then what about getting rid of your cable TV service? If you are able to get rid of both of those that could be a few hundred dollars a month saved.

If you are working with a debt relief provider and they have consolidated your debts into a single loan the chances are that giving up your credit cards will be part of the package. So you probably want to get used to that idea right away.

But if you can’t get or don’t want a debt relief program?

But let’s also imagine that you don’t qualify for assistance with any of these programs or you want to try and go it alone and save on the fees.

You will still have to go through many of the steps explained in the article on recommended debt relief programs.

You should start by contacting your creditors and explain you are putting a plan in place to pay off your debts. Many of the same debt relief providers that want to manage your debt for you, and charge you in the process are also in the market to provide you with a consolidation loan that you manage yourself.

Free for state residents

You will also find online debt relief advisory programs advertising no-cost counseling services for residents of specific US states. These will often provide very valuable information but in reality, they will be referring you to one or more of the major US loan consolidation services.

There is nothing necessarily not on the level with these services. Federal laws passed in 2010 make it illegal to charge you fees for debt consolidation services until after they have arranged a consolidation loan.

The only exception is an attorney’s legal fees if you are involved in any legal proceedings regarding fixing your debt situation.

So in effect, all the debt counseling you may get before you commit to a specific plan has to be provided free of up-front charges.

If any debt relief provider does try to charge you up-front don’t do it. Find another provider.

Each person’s situation is unique

Each person’s financial situation really is unique so there is no one-size-fits-all with getting out of debt.

If you are willing to do the work and you have the necessary discipline and self-control, there is no reason why you can’t fix your own raging credit card debt by imposing draconian measures on yourself and your expenditures.

Credit cards and cash

If the debts really are out of hand but you still want to manage the situation yourself then many debt relief providers will get you a consolidation loan and you can negotiate with your creditors easier terms.

You can also opt for a more full-service style package where the debt relief provider does the negotiations with your creditors, arranges the consolidation loan, and manages it for you. If you go that route they will be taking their pound of flesh from your payments to them.

If there is a conclusion …

It’s going to be that if you want the quickest way out of debt, then chances are you are going to have to negotiate directly with your creditors, arrange a consolidation loan if you need one and if you are eligible with a provider and manage the whole process yourself.

This way you will save on at least some of the debt relief provider’s fees and all other things being equal, this will mean you pay off your debt faster.

Consumer information

To understand your rights and obligations and to help get yourself out of debt, the US Federal Trade Commission has some excellent information online.

For UK residents the UK government provides good advice on paying off debt.

Questions and answers


Q. How quickly can you get out of debt?

A. If you are doing it yourself, it is as fast as you can, that could be months or years depending on how much debt you have and how much you earn. It is simple math. There is no magic. If you take out a consolidation loan and work with a debt relief provider then it will usually take between two and four years to get out of debt after you have set up the loan.


Q. How do I get out of debt quickly for no money?

A. To get out of debt quickly for no money you should plan your expenditures and track every cent you spend, shred your credit cards, cut out anything that is not necessary but maybe keep one low-cost luxury that you absolutely love, increase your earnings if you are paid overtime volunteer for more overtime, take on extra part-time work, negotiate the best terms you can directly with your creditors, pay off your highest interest debts first, make extra payments over and above what is planned whenever you can. If you don’t take out a consolidation loan or any other service then you will avoid paying extra fees.


Q. How much debt is too much?

A. In today’s market mortgage lenders will consider giving you a mortgage if your total debt repayments to earnings ratio will be 36% or less including mortgage repayments. What that means in regular money terms is if for every $1,000 you earn you should be able to get a mortgage as long as your total debt repayments are $360 a month or less. As an example, if your total household income is $4,000 a month and you already have $200 a month in car loan payments and no other debt, then you would qualify for a mortgage that would require monthly repayments of $1,240.

That is the level that mortgage lenders would typically be comfortable with. Technically you could get a mortgage loan if your debt repayment to earnings ratio is 43%.


Single-page summary

Here is a single-page PDF summary of the quickest ways to get out of debt.

Quickest way out of debt summary


I hope you found this article interesting and useful. Do leave me a comment, a question, an opinion, or a suggestion and I will reply soonest. And if you are inclined to do me a favor, scroll down a bit and click on one of the social media buttons, and share it with your friends. They may just thank you for it.


Disclaimer: I am not a financial professional. All the information on this website and in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice, good or bad.


Affiliate Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I may receive a commission. You will pay no more so please go ahead and feel free to make a purchase. Thank you

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22 Comments

  1. Thanks, Andy, for sharing this information. I’m always glad to bump into your blog and read the information your give here. I’m sure a lot of people in debt will appreciate your ideas here. I like how you always break down the process to single detail and give great solutions to people’s problems.

    Controlling your expenses is the key to getting out of the debt. In 99% of the cases, uncontrolled expenses cause the debt in the first place. So getting things in control in that area is a must.

    It’s easy to increase your income. But if you don’t have the control over your expenses, you can earn millions per week and still be in debt. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. That’s my formula.

    • Hi Ivan
      You are so right, depending to some extent where you live. Not controlling expenses will be in many cases what leads to debt spiraling out of control. But in countries like the US and many others around the world where the social safety net has many holes, it is also possible to find yourself in very difficult financial straights as a result of unexpected medical expenses or even unexpected legal entanglements.
      Thanks for stopping by and best regards
      Andy

  2. As someone who did get into debt with credit cards I’ve been fortunate enough to work out a manageble payment plan with both of them. I only buy what I need at the moment, and found great deals on TV and broadband packages. You’ve provided some very useful information which I’m sure will help many who’ve got themselves into debt. One tip that helps me is to create a spreadsheet of every single monthly outgoing including card payments. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Hi Kathy
      I completely agree with you to use a spreadsheet for budgeting. It is so second nature that I didn’t think to be that specific. I am very glad you managed to put a workable payment plan in place with your credit card companies. It is very good to hear from people who have put such measures into practice and succeeded. Thanks for the comment. Best regards, Andy

  3. This is very important advice and some great tips! I used to have a debt with two credit cards, not huge, but it was big enough to have me live very frugally for a long time. One card is already paid off and I am really close to making the last big payment on my second credit card. So, after that I can relax again 🙂
    After paying off the first card I was already able to breathe a little, but now that I have nearly paid off the second one, and have no more debts (except for the car, but that is no problem), it’s going to be such a great feeling.
    I will share this on my FB page, it’s such useful information.
    When you get a consolidation loan, do you still pay interest, but at a lower rate?

    • Hi Christine
      Getting out of credit card debt is a very common part of modern 21st-century life and congratulations to you for paying off one of yours. Yes, most consolidation loans will be at a lower rate of interest than you were paying on your credit card(s) but the terms and conditions of the loan will always be a matter of negotiation between you and your loan provider and will also depend on the terms accepted by your credit card companies.
      Good luck with the last steps in paying off the second one! It sounds like you are nearly there.
      Best regards
      Andy

  4. Thanks for sharing, debt is something common in society much more than it was in the past. Some of my team members are also having some financial issues and I am going to share this article with them. I have found here really great tips and I am pretty sure they’ll appreciate it a lot.

    • Hi Ola
      Yes, there was much less debt and credit around when I was growing up. I remember a neighbor friend telling me about how his dad had this new Visa card and that he could get money and didn’t have to pay for it. It sounded ridiculous to me but back then I hadn’t even heard of credit cards so I didn’t know the facts to tell him he was wrong. Thanks for sharing with your team members. Best regards Andy

  5. Hi Andy

    Very insightful article about debt management. It’s true to say that uncontrolled expenses lead to finance troubles.Doing some sacrefice will surely help to get out of it.
    Btw you have a nice infographic which show how we can get out of debt!

    Continue the great work!

    Cheers

  6. Hi Andy,

    This is a really great article and I’m sure it’s been helpful to people who are in tough financial situations due to the pandemic (of life in general). Debt can be crippling, take it from someone who has student loans they’re paying off.

    I appreciate that you’re encouraging of contacting creditors and relief programs. A lot of people are scared of that initial step of asking for help. Many of us have been taught that seeking help is a sign of weakness, but it’s inevitable that we’ll all need help in life in some way or another.

    Organizing a plan is definitely the way to go and like you said, it’s really simple math. What’s hard is making the decision to stick to your plans and your goals, but if you can do that you will get it paid off!

    • Hi Haley
      I think you are right. Most people should be able to pull themselves out of tightening financial circumstances if they act soon enough and put a plan in place that they act on and stick to. But there will be some people who get in too deep for whatever reason and need to seek help.
      Best regards
      Andy

  7. Andy,

    This is great information. Many people today are in debt, I will say. I’m one of them. Last year, I hired an attorney to help pay off my debts, but they took my money, and my debts are still outstanding. I’ve called them and emailed them several times over the course of a year, but of course, no response. So, I suppose court action is next. But it goes to show don’t trust all of them….they’re shady just like any money hungry company.

    Thanks for sharing this information though!

    Katrina

    • Hi Katrina
      I am very sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. You only need an attorney if your creditors take you to court. The recommended debt relief services in this article all provide debt counseling free of charge if you meet their criteria. You should only need to pay them after they have settled your debt and they would extract their fees from the repayment arrangements made with you, and the fees they charge should be less than the overall debt reductions that they negotiate for you.
      I hope you are able to sort this out to your benefit.
      Best regards
      Andy

  8. Hiya!
    Great article, I am very good with money, but coronavirus gave me a little kick in the teeth to be honest.

    I have, however, gotten rid of everything I could – this should be the basic and everyone should think of it. It’s common sense. I know so many people who pay for so much stuff and take everything on finance without realizing the consequences.

    And don’t get me started on credit cards. Most people I know just think they can spend on them and never worry about it. I guess they think the debt will just go away by itself.

    I’m glad you are trying to help by outlining simple steps.

    • Hi, yes I think many of us have had financial challenges because of coronavirus.
      I have had similar reactions as you have to friends who ran up credit cards just because they could and then spent years trying to get out from underneath. In some cases, I’ve known people who have literally left the country to escape credit card debt.
      We live and learn
      Thanks for your comment
      Best regards
      Andy

  9. This is a great informative post.

    I run up a lot of debt over a bad period of my life, that I thought I would never get out of. Once I got my head together I started the snowball debt method, which has been great for me. I’ve paid a big chunk of the debt off over a few years.

    I’m now much better with money thank god!

    Great info here.

    Thanks,
    Adam

    • Hi
      I am glad to hear you solved your problem. The snowball approach clearly works.
      Thanks for the comment
      Best regards
      Andy

  10. Hi Andy,

    Informative article with valuable advice on debt management.

    In the world of endless desires we forget to save for the future, your article mentions the best debt recovery tips, it will surely teach people to limit expenses and focus on how to get rid of those huge debts.

    Organizing debts, using income from investment, and depositing it in FD’s and mutual funds can greatly help.

    Creating a monthly payment calendar, deciding which debt to pay first, and implementing a monthly budget to plan all expenses are few tips that work wonders.

    Great!
    Cheers!

    • Hi Samantha
      Thanks for the comment. Yes, it’s easy to fall into a debt trap, and though often of our own making that isn’t always the case. But as you say for most of us getting out of debt is a matter of putting a solid disciplined plan in place and sticking with it.
      Thanks again and best regards
      Andy

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