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

James Cooper sitting in a classroom desk.
Matt Odom for The Penny Hoarder
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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 nine strategies you probably didn’t realize you could use to help you pay it off.

The Most Creative Ways to Pay off Debt

One of the easiest steps to take toward getting out of debt is to get creative with the resources available to you. And we love getting creative. Here are some clever ways to pay off your debt. Oh, and you won’t have to live on just ramen noodles, either

1. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month

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

No, like… the whole bill. All of it. All that debt racked up from the 300 destination weddings your friends made you attend (thanks!) could be paid by the end of this month.

Your credit card company is ripping you off with insane rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But there are other, nicer companies that’ll help you out. A website called Fiona knows the best ones and could pair you up as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Fiona will match you with a loan that’ll cover your credit card tab. Use that loan to pay off your debt, then make monthly payments to repay the loan. It could lower your monthly payments and help you pay off that debt a lot faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

Fiona 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.

2. Pay Off Your Credit Cards By Watching Cooking Videos Online

If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh. 

It’s too good to be true, right? 

But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. 

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone. Plus, it’s extra money you can put toward paying down your debt. Everything helps.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

3. Get Paid up to $600/Week to Drop off Starbucks

Your city is filled with two things: Starbucks, and people who want Starbucks.

An app called Doordash will pay you to pick up and deliver an extra latte when you’re already out and getting your caffeine fix. And it’s not just coffee. You can deliver from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Five Guys and hundreds of other restaurants in your area.

With Doordash, you set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you. 

You’ll earn money for each delivery, plus tips. Jose Neri, from California, reports earning $500 to $600 a week working just lunches and dinners.

The best part? No passengers — that grande, no-whip macchiato will be the only thing to hear your beautiful singing voice.

If you sign up for Doordash now, it’s possible to get your first paycheck this week. 

4. Stop Giving Your Car Insurance Company Extra Money

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When you’re trying to pay off debt, you’ll want to cut any expense you can. And 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 website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes.

All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.

The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.

If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.

Who’s laughing now?

5. Withdraw Cash From the ATM on Monday

A woman talks on the phone while pulling money out of an ATM
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Controlling your spending is one of the best ways to stay on course in repaying your debt.

But we get it. There are always those weeks — the ones where you promise you’ll pack a lunch for work then end up eating out each day.

Now, we’re not saying only eat soggy leftovers all week. But if you have trouble staying on track — whether it’s coffee, lunch, dinner or all the snacks — set yourself a spending limit and take exactly that amount from the ATM on Monday. Then, only spend that throughout the week. Once the cash is gone, it’s back to leftovers.

6. Try Starving and Stacking

Money from tips and clients is handled by Cat Keenam in Tampa, Fla
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

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.

7. Get Paid for Your Screen Time

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

But there’s a company that will pay you for all that screen time. And any extra money you can put toward your debt is good in our book.

Yep. Mypoints is a reader favorite, because it pays you in free gift cards for taking surveys and other activities right on your phone. You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and take your first five surveys.

8. Use Your House to Pay off Credit Card Debt

Homeowners: Did you know your home, even if it’s not paid off yet, could help you escape credit card debt?

You might consider tapping into your home’s equity — that’s the money you’ve paid toward your mortgage — through a lender like Figure. The idea is to borrow money from your home’s equity to pay your credit bard balance in full.

This might feel like you’re simply transferring your debt, but you’ll wipe out those high interest rates (the average these days is 17.14%, according to the Federal Reserve), which will get you on a faster track to that debt-free life.

First, decide if a home-equity line of credit is right for you. You’ll be using your home as collateral, but your new interest rate will be much lower than that of your credit card.

Then, get a free quote from Figure. You can borrow up to $150,000, with rates starting at 4.99%.

And, unlike some other lenders, Figure doesn’t slap you with sneaky fees. You’ll pay an origination fee (typical), but you won’t be charged application fees or even early repayment fees.

It takes five minutes to check your rate. If you like what you see and your application is approved, Figure will fund you within five days.

Figure is available in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, WA, WI, WY. Terms and conditions apply. Visit figure.com for further information.

9. See If Your Cell Phone Company Owes You $80

Is your cell phone company overcharging you?

Probably. In fact, there are secret discounts it doesn’t want you to know about.

You can find out how much you’re overpaying by signing up for TrueBill. Just connect your cell phone account and TrueBill will immediately try to get it lowered.

That’s what happened when William Ellis, a savvy saver from Indiana, used a similar bill negotiation service. He was able to get $80 a year back in his pocket when they convinced Sprint to lower his bill — for the same plan. He didn’t even have to pick up the phone.

TrueBill takes an upfront commission on any money it recovers for you, but there’s no charge if it’s not successful. So far, TrueBill has saved its users more than $14 million.