This 18-Day Challenge Is Perfect for People With $5K or More in Credit Card Debt
If you have credit card debt, you know. The high interest rates, the constant anxiety, the feeling you’ll never escape…
But today’s the day that’s all going to change. It’s time to finally pay off your credit card debt and live your life with a little less money stress by committing to this 18-day debt payoff challenge.
You ready? Follow these steps to finally conquer your credit card debt:
Day 1: Ask This Website to Help Pay Your Credit Card Bills This Month
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to 36%. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
You don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan — and comparing your options won’t affect your score at all. Plus, AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
It takes less than a minute and just 10 questions to see what loans you qualify for — you don’t even need to enter your Social Security number. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
Day 2: Know What You Owe and Prioritize Your Debt
One of the toughest parts about paying down your debt is simply knowing where to begin. Which of your credit cards has a balance? Carries the highest interest rate? Has the highest minimum monthly payment?
That’s where a free website like Credit Sesame can help. It takes 90 seconds 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.
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 the cards with the 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 throughout this challenge. And, hey, it’ll be kind of fun watching your credit score react to all your hard work!
It takes just 90 seconds to get started with Credit Sesame.
Day 3: Play Bingo on Your Phone for Real Money — up to $83 Per Win
Do you play games on your phone just for fun? You should see if you can make money doing it, too.
A free iPhone app called Bingo Cash lets you play for real cash. Every win could pay you up to $83.
Bingo Cash is based on the classic Bingo format, where you’ll battle it out against other players at your same skill level. Everyone gets the same board and sees the same Bingo balls. The top three players in a game can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
And no, there’s no catch. There are no ads, either. You can play for free or pay to play in higher-stakes tournaments. Download the free app and start playing your first game immediately. You could win money today!
Days 4-5: Build a Sustainable Budget
Now it’s time to build yourself a budget. We’re giving you two days for this because we get it: This can be overwhelming.
Oh, yes, we hear your groaning from here, but budgeting is an integral part to paying off your credit card debt, and it’ll help you accomplish your financial goals. Plus, it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
We suggest using the 50/20/30 budgeting method. It’s easy and offers a lot of flexibility. Here’s what it looks like:
- 50% of your monthly income goes toward living expenses. These include rent, mortgage, utilities, groceries, car payments, gas and loan payments.
- 20% of your monthly income goes toward money goals, which can include investments, savings and debt-reduction payments above the minimum amount.
- 30% of your monthly income goes toward personal spending. That’s everything else.
Because you want to pay off your credit card debt, you’ll want to focus on building your minimum payments into that 50% category. Then any additional efforts will get wrapped into the money goals category.
If you’re struggling to make your expenses fit perfectly into each category, feel free to adjust the proportions. Like we said, this is super flexible, so use it to suit your needs and hit your goals.
Day 6: Get Paid up to $40/Month — Just for Sharing Your Opinion
Taking surveys might not sound like the best way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch — or pretending to be interested in your partner’s new favorite show — why not click a couple buttons? It could earn you up to $40 a month. Seriously.
There are a bunch of paid survey sites out there, but one of the best we’ve found is Survey Junkie.
They’ll ask you questions about things like, what kind of laundry detergent you use, or if you prefer Pepsi or Coke. You get points for answering, and many people accumulate enough points to request a check within a few hours. Completing just three surveys a day can earn you as much as $40 a month.
More than 20 million people already use Survey Junkie, and it has 4.5/5 stars on TrustPilot.
Give it a try by visiting Survey Junkie and clicking the “Join Now” button. It’s free.
Day 7: Cancel Your Car Insurance
Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you. Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
Day 8: Get Paid Every Time You Buy Toilet Paper
Grocery shopping was never exactly pleasant. But these days, it’s a downright struggle. Fighting crowds; keeping six feet of space — just buying toilet paper is a feat. Shouldn’t you have something to show for it?
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something…
Days 9-16: Commit to a “No Spend” Challenge
You’re making good progress so far! Now it’s time to really pour fuel on this fire by committing to a week of no spending.
That means you won’t spend any money on nonessentials this next week. Definitely still pay rent, your utilities — all those responsible grown-up bills — but don’t spend anything on entertainment, clothes or dining out.
Yes, this will be difficult, and you will face temptations. But this is a great way to reset your spending habits and save up some extra money to put toward your debt.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can go for a full month, like personal finance writer Jamie Cattanach. She committed to a No Spend November, to help tame some of her holiday spending. When Cattanach finished her challenge, she saved more than $600. Not bad, right?
Day 17: Find Out If You’re Overpaying
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?
That’s exactly what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper.* Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
Day 18: Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games
Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?
There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.
You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?
Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.
With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s rooting for you!
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.