It’s time to take some bold steps

Friday, March 9, 2018 8:30 PM

Eliminate your debt. Are you ready? It’s time for massive debt-elimination action.

I remember getting started. I was sick and tired of the stress and worry. With a budget in place, we were chipping away at small debts. We had created some breathing room, but instead of getting comfortable, we got impatient.

That was magic. We started getting creative. Instead of taking years to pay off staggering amounts of debt, we made radical changes to do it in just 15 months.

Here’s how you can get rid of your debt faster than you ever thought possible:

Right-size your lifestyle If you are like me when I was drowning in debt, you’re living beyond your means. It’s time to align your lifestyle with your income. Right-size your lifestyle by selling that extra car or any non-essential item that you insure or license – RV, camper, boat, ATV, snowmobile, etc.

Think assetsAsset: 1) a useful or valuable thing 2) property owned that is regarded as having value. Get creative. Look around at your assets and put them to work for you generating income. Consider renting out a room or converting a detached garage into a rental property.

Get essential When it comes to massive debt elimination, being warm, safe and dry – the essentials – are all that matter. Everything else is a luxury or convenience that you can earn back later if you miss it.

Make a list of all the items in your home that are not entirely necessary or extremely important to you. Turn these items into money to pay off your debt.

Hold a garage sale, put them up on eBay or donate them to the thrift store or a charity for a tax deduction. Yes, this is extreme. We’re taking bold steps!

Take radical actionFor us, this was selling our large $300,000 condo to buy a much smaller $200,000 condo. This radical move eliminated $100,000 in debt. What could you do that’s radical?

If your job is not location-dependent, how about selling most of your stuff and moving to one of these five cities,, where you can live for less than $2,000 a month while you pay off your debt.

HustleWe’re living in a gig economy – there’s lots of short-term and freelance work available. Look at your skills and abilities and put them to work earning extra money. Imagine how an additional $10,000 to $20,000 a year could change your financial situation.

Each of these five categories requires change, sacrifice or a radical departure from the norm, but getting out from under the weight of your debt is worth it.

This column is part of a 12-part Money Savvy series about taking control of your money. If you would like to have some financial breathing room, you can catch up on any missed columns at resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance.