Is It Possible to Quickly Pay off $20K in Debt on Just $60K/Year?

Directly above view of exhausted couple trying to cope with taxes, they doing paperwork together
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No one wants to spend ages paying interest on debt if they don’t have to. But a lot of people feel so intimidated by debt that they sit with it for years or decades even when they don’t need to.

The good news: If you’re ready to pay off debt quickly, you can.

How to Quickly Pay off $20,000 in Debt

You could pay off $20,000 of debt on an income of around $60,000 in about a year.

The median household income for Americans is just over $61K, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. According to Experian data, 77 out of 129 cities across the United States, 60%, have costs-of-living less than $45,000 per year. More than a third, 35%, have costs-of-living less than $40,000 per year — leaving around $20,000 to put toward debt.

But paying off debt of any size, on any income, takes work. So anything you can do to make it easier is worth every effort. Thankfully, it’s easier than you think.

1. Lower Your Interest Rates

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. If your credit score is at least 620, its platform can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

2. Make a Budget

When you’re focused on paying off debt, we recommend using a zero-based budget. This allows you to prioritize your necessities and debt above wants no matter the size or fluctuation of your income.

It also helps to keep cash envelopes for discretionary expenses. Once you make your budget, identify the categories that are easy for you to overspend on. Only carry enough cash to get your through the week for that category.

3. Cut Your Spending

Cancel that gym membership you rarely use, and go for a run — gasp — outside. Cut your expensive cell phone plan and go with a discount carrier. And practice meatless Mondays to cut your grocery bill.

Every time you lower your spending, it snowballs and gives you more room in your budget to pay off your debt faster.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She and her husband paid off $78,000 of debt in less than two years on two less-than-average salaries. She gives money saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.