When I started this blog a few years ago, I was DROWNING in credit card debt — over $10,000, in fact.
It got so bad that there were times I had to roll pennies just to buy groceries!
I had read practically every personal finance book out there, but the idea that cutting out Starbucks from my budget was magically going to make me a millionaire seemed ridiculous.
So instead of cutting lattes, I had to get creative with my budget and that meant not only finding ways to save money, but finding a few ways to boost my income as well.
Here are the 14 things I did to pay off my $10,000 in credit card debt…
1. I Negotiated My Bills to Save $400+/Year
We all know you can negotiate the price of a car, but did you know that you can negotiate your cell phone bill and cable bill?
I recently did this with my AT&T bill. I already had the cheapest advertised plan, but I called AT&T and asked if they could do anything to help me reduce the bill. They ended up knocking off $20/month off, saving me $240/year!
I also did the same thing with my cable bill and racked up another $200/year in savings.
2. I Moved My Debt to a 0% Interest Rate
Most of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates that are north of 20%. If you’re in the same boat, it might be worth opening a credit card with a lower interest rate and transferring your balances.
One of my favorites right now is the Citi Simplicity card because they offer a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 21 months. Plus, the card has no annual fee or late fees.
If you do decide to change credit cards, be sure you don’t close your old accounts. A huge part of your credit score revolves around the length of your credit history and closing active accounts can definitely hurt it.
3. I Watched YouTube Videos to Make an Extra $250
This works because the videos are sponsored by brands who need to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every time you watch one of their ads, they’ll credit your account with cash.
They give you $5 just for signing up and it’s actually possible to earn over $250 just by watching videos.
And you better believe that I put the extra income straight to paying off my debt!
4. I Created Extra Income That Didn’t Add to My Work Day
For a lot of our readers it’s not really possible to add another job to the schedule. You’re already working 2 or 3 jobs and still aren’t making ends meet.
It’s a pretty common problem, which is why I always suggest that you look for ways to boost income passively. Income that doesn’t require you to work a ton of additional hours.
One of my favorites is the Media Insider app. They pay you $5/month to keep the app installed, but you can use it on up to 3 devices, meaning you can earn up to $180/year.
Their app helps media companies better under how consumers are using their device by measuring activities conducted on a device, such as sharing, viewing, clicking, chatting, and downloading.
This is one of those things that takes about 15 minutes to set up and then you never have to think about it again. You just get to cash the check every month.
5. I Earned Up to $25/Hour Delivering Groceries
Are you 21 years older with reliable transportation? Sign up to be a delivery driver with Instacart!
This app and website lets people who don’t have the time or motivation to battle the crowds for a box of cereal skip the grocery store. As their personal shopper, you are in charge of picking up their groceries and delivering them within two hours.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, you can fill out the Instacart application here. They ask potential shoppers to take a short online quiz about common grocery store items. The quiz asks you to identify grocery items, like a lemon or an 18-pack of eggs, but you only have two minutes to answer the 21 questions.
After that, your city’s manager will call you to set up a time for a 15-minute phone interview to learn about your background and experience. They tend to look for people with past customer service experience and candidates who have experience doing plenty of shopping for either their roommates, families or themselves.
6. I Found a Rebates on Everything I Bought
Obviously making cuts to my spending was a huge part of my success, but it’s not possible to completely eliminate it. You still have to buy necessities like groceries. But, I did learn how to earn a rebate on everything I bought and then I applied those rebates directly to my credit card debt.
To do this, I joined the free shopping rebate site, Mypoints. They paid me 1.4% cashback on my Target.com purchases, 3.4% on my Amazon purchases, 5.4% on my Walmart purchases, and so on, and so forth.
Plus, Mypoints gave me a free $10 Papa Johns gift card just for joining and using the site for the first time.
7. I Rented Out My Apartment & Pocketed $125
Alright, this might not work for everybody, but have you thought about renting out your house or apartment for one night? I’ve used Airbnb to both rent out my apartment and stay in many others while traveling, and it’s a fantastic way to put your home to work for you.
Whether you’re renting out a single room or your entire home, make the most of your Airbnb rental by following these tips.
8. I Hosted an Online Garage Sale
We all have way too much junk just sitting around, so this month’s project is to sell some of your old stuff online. Here are some of my favorite websites for doing just that:
– Bookscouter – Use this site to sell your old books
– Ebay: Everything else goes on Ebay.
– Tradesy: Use this site to sell your old clothes
I was able to sell more than $500 in stuff that was just sitting in my garage and closets.
9. I Weighed In on Presidential Politics
What do you think of Donald Trump? Are you going to vote in the 2016 Election?
I’m kind of a political nerd, so one way I’ve made extra money is by registering for the major polling companies (Ipsos Panel & Harris Poll are the two largest). However, you’ve got to be a registered voter in order to participate. I did this during the 2012 election and I was able to pocket around $100, so I’m looking forward to it again.
A word of caution though: these can be also be frustrating at times because not everyone qualifies. They’re looking for a certain number of people in each demographic, so it’s hit and miss whether you’ll be asked to complete a poll.
10. I Let SlideJoy Put an Ad on My Smartphone
You pick up your cell phone dozens of times a day, whether to check the weather report, answer emails or text a friend.
What if you could make money just by picking up your phone to do all those ordinary things?
Instead of a picture of your dog or some flowers on your lock screen, Slidejoy presents ads for various products and services. Like what you see? Swipe left on the ad to go straight to the advertiser’s website, YouTube video or app download page. If the ad doesn’t resonate with you, or if you’re in a hurry, simply slide right to go to your phone as normal. Or, if you just want to check your notifications, just slide down to display them.
Either way, you get paid just for looking at the ads on your lock screen. In fact, you can earn up to $60 year just by using your phone normally!
11. I Found Free Entertainment
Let’s face it: It costs money to have fun. My family could easily spend thousands of dollars a year on entertainment, if we had the cash, and I bet you can relate.
But what if I told you that you could enjoy movies, bowling nights, amusement parks, water parks, weekend getaways and more for free? Better yet, how would you like to get paid to go on these kinds of outings?
I do — through mystery shopping. Here’s a list of my favorite companies.
12. I Answered TV Trivia
Got a long list of favorite TV shows? Sign up for RewardTV and earn a few dollars by answering trivia questions about the shows you watched last night.
Most of the trivia has to do with shows that have recently aired, so if you’re binging on a three-year-old show on Netflix, you probably can’t compete. But if you love your TV, you can redeem your trivia points for gift certificates to your favorite stores.
13. I Signed Up for Free Gift Card Promotions
Believe it or not, there are sites that will give you free gift cards just for signing up with them.
One of my favorites is Ebates, the cash-back shopping site. They’re giving away $10 gift cards if you sign-up as a new member and earn your first cashback rebate. You can choose either a $10 Target, Walmart, Macy’s, or Kohl’s gift card.
You do have to wait 30 days. But, it’s free money so can you really complain?
14. I Evaluated My Local Stores with Mobee: $10
Have you ever tried mystery shopping? The Mobee app will pay you to go undercover in your local stores and rate the level of customer service and cleanliness, among other things.
Most of you know that I’ve done quite a bit of mystery shopping, so I was pretty excited to find this app. I found it really easy to use and the shops went pretty quickly, but I wasn’t too impressed with the payment amounts. For example, there was a Subway mystery shop in my area that was paying $8. That’s not a huge amount for a mystery shop, plus I had to buy a sandwich during the shop that wasn’t reimbursed.
Regardless, it was like getting a free lunch, so I’ll take it!
Your Turn: Have you done anything creative you pay off credit card debt?
Good luck Penny Hoarders!
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