8 Things You Didn’t Realize You Could Do to Pay off Debt

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You’re ready to be out of debt. Sounds like the understatement of the century, right? You can’t wait to be debt-free. But you feel like you’ve tried everything. And everywhere you turn, your debt is still there — impacting just about every area of your life.

But we’ve got eight strategies you probably didn’t realize you could use to help you pay it off.

1. Save For Your Monthly Payments Without Thinking About It

Making sure you have enough money at the end of each month to afford your credit card payment isn’t always the easiest. And if you don’t have enough? Hello, high interest rates.

But a free app called Dobot from Fifth Third Bank will handle everything for you.

Dobot analyzes your spending habits and determines exactly how much you can afford to put away. Every few days, it’ll automatically add money to your Dobot savings stash. (You can also do this manually, if you want.)

And if rent is due soon? No worries. Dobot’s algorithm is designed to not overdraft your account. It only moves small, safe amounts. Plus, you can access your money whenever you want.

It only takes a few minutes to get started. Just download Dobot, connect your checking account and create a savings goal — that’d be your monthly payment goal.

2. Earn an Extra $1,200/Year From Your Couch to Put Toward Your Debt

We’ve all been there. Netflix drones in the background as you scroll Instagram. What are you even doing?

But there’s a website that will pay you for all that screen time.

Yep. Swagbucks will pay you in free gift cards for taking surveys and other activities right on your phone.

We know what you’re thinking: You’ll probably just earn a few pennies for your troubles. But we talked to one Swagbucks user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year.

And it’s no huge time commitment. Hendrickson takes her surveys in the morning before her full-time job.

Even better? You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 points within your first 60 days.

Put those gift card toward your groceries, and free up room in your budget to throw more money toward your debt!

3. Ask This Company to Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill

A woman lays on the grass with credit cards surrounding her.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

No, like… the whole bill. All of it.

While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a company called AmOne could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: AmOne can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

4. This Website Will Tell You What Bills To Pay Off First

One of the toughest parts about paying down your debts is simply knowing where to begin.

Which of your credit cards are carrying a balance? Is your name attached to any unpaid loans? Are you behind on medical or utility bills you didn’t know about?

That’s where a free website like Credit Sesame can help. It takes about two minutes to sign up and access your free credit score. From there, Credit Sesame will outline your debt — exactly what you owe and to whom — and offer personalized recommendations. It’ll even break down the interest rates and minimum monthly payments attached to your bills.

Armed with this intel, you’ll be able to more easily devise your payoff plan. Do you want to use the debt avalanche method, where you’ll pay off your highest interest rates first? Or maybe you prefer the debt snowball method, where you start with the smallest balances first.

You can continue to use Credit Sesame to keep track of your progress and hold yourself accountable. And, hey, it might be kind of fun watching your credit score react to all your hard work!

It takes two minutes to get started with Credit Sesame.

5. Cancel Your Car Insurance

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When you’re trying to pay off debt, you might feel like you have to cut every enjoyable thing out of your budget. But the truth is, one of the simplest — and most impactful — expenses you can cut is car insurance.

If you really want to get the best price on car insurance, experts say you should be shopping twice a year. OK, we can hear you laughing from here. Who has time to do all that?

But seriously, insurance companies take a lot of factors into consideration, and they change all the time. Ipso facto — you’re paying too much.

Thankfully, a free digital marketplace called SmartFinancial could be getting you rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year. 

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

6. Earn $60/Hour to Put Towards Your Credit Card Debt

Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while making a dent in your credit card debt?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part-time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.

It’s helped thousands of people launch their own mini-businesses, including Daniel Honan, a military veteran and former painter who’s in his early 30s. He never considered starting his own company. But he signed up for Bookkeeper Launch, and now he’s making $50,000 a year keeping track of business expenses for his 10 clients.

It only took him three months to get started, taking one class a week. Oh, and he makes his own schedule, earns up to $60 an hour and is able to spend more time with his wife than ever.

If you’re just a little curious, you just have to submit your email address here to take the first free class.

7. Try Starving and Stacking

Don’t worry. You can still eat. The starve and stack budgeting method is geared toward couples, especially newlyweds. Couples combine their finances and live exclusively off one income for 18 to 24 months.

Use the additional income to invest, establish a rainy day fund and pay off debt. That’s what Penny Hoarder Jen Smith did. She and her husband practiced the starve and stack method for two years and were able to pay off $78,000 in debt.

8. Pay off Debt by Taking Pictures of Your Crumpled Receipts

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Here’s a crazy way to make some progress on your debt: download the free app Fetch Rewards and get paid for taking pictures of your receipts.

Fetch partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt (from any store!) you share. All you have to do is snap a photo of your receipt through the app, then Fetch does the rest for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers.

You can then exchange those points for Visa gift cards. Plus, when you download the app, use code PENNY to earn an extra 2,000 points after you scan your first receipt.

Use these gift card to buy groceries. You’ll find you have more room in your monthly budget — and more money to throw at your debt.

How easy is that?