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How to Jump Start Your Debt Payoff Goal

4 Ways to Jump Start Your Debt Payoff

man jumping in air in front of mountain at sunset
How to Jump Start Your Debt Payoff Goal

If you’re just starting a journey to debt free, or if you’re slowly moving along and are needing an extra push, this post is for you. Sometimes as you work toward your financial goals we need to jump start your debt payoff. The benefits of giving your goal a jump start are many. It will help you:

  • make a serious dent in your debt
  • force you to make a big sacrifice in order to get used to doing so
  • motivate you to keep moving toward the finish line

Jump Start Your Debt Payoff

Long-term goals are difficult to keep up with. It’s easier to lose 5 pounds than it is to lose 50, and it’s easier to pay off $1,000 in debt than it is to pay off $10,000, simply because of the time factor. The more time that goes by as you work on your goal, the easier it is to live with the progress you’ve got left to achieve. As I wrote in this earlier post, the enemy of “best” is “good”.

If you’re in a situation where you need some serious motivation to move forward with your debt payoff journey, a good way to get that motivation is to jump start your goal by putting a huge extra amount of money toward your debt. Here are 6 ways you can find the money to do that.

Sell Something

Or “somethings”. I’m not talking about selling your old 10-speed. I’m talking about selling your jetski. Or your hot tub.Sell something BIG that will allow you to put several hundred or several thousand dollars toward your debt. This type of jump start will not only make a huge dent in your debt, it will help teach you that you really can live without your “stuff” and be okay. When Deacon of Well Kept Wallet and his wife Kim were working their goal of dumping $52k worth of debt in 18 months, they both sold their cars. Deacon’s car was upside-down and so they had to take a grand in cash (which they got from selling other stuff, I might add) in order to be able to pay off the loan in full. Kim’s car was paid for and worth about $5k, so they sold that too and bought two used cars that totaled about $4k, saving the other grand for potential repairs on the two vehicles. In a very short period of time they dumped a LOT of debt and got rid of a $400+ car payment. This move was a huge catalyst in allowing them to achieve their goal.

Work More

If you have the option, spend a month working some serious overtime at your job and put every extra dime toward debt. If that’s not an option, get a temporary second job or figure out some side hustles you can do, targeting all of your extra income toward debt. It’ll be tough putting in the extra hours of work, but when you do, and you’ve got a few extra thousand to jump start your debt payoff, you’ll be glad you did.

This will only work however, if you pinky swear to put all of your extra earned income toward debt and not spend it on stupid stuff because “you deserve it” after all of your hard work.

Do a Challenge Everything Budget

And be serious about it. J$ coined this term, and basically went on a mission to challenge every single monthly expense he and his wife had, and look for a way to get it lower. Then, he banked the savings he had created, and over the course of a year, he and his wife saved well over five thousand dollars. How would an extra 5k help your debt payoff goals?

A Challenge Everything budget means you dump the cable, lower your insurance and stop using electricity (I kid!). But it does mean that you get serious about cutting expenses wherever you can until the debt is gone.

Educate Yourself

This may not seem like a way to jump start your debt payoff, but believe me when I tell you it works. When you increase your knowledge about how and why you got into debt in the first place, you’ll instantly motivate yourself to go about correcting your mistakes big time. When you learn about the lies broke people believe, and the mistakes broke people make, and when you spend your evenings reading debt success stories instead of watching stupid stuff on the idiot box, you’ll find yourself wanting to achieve the success that you do deserve, and you’ll find yourself coming up with new and creative ways to put extra money toward debt.

By following the four steps above, you can put a serious big-time dent into your debt, and from there have the motivation to keep on going until you cross the finish line that is debt free. On your mark, get set, GO!








  1. Hannah says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of selling small stuff too. I am writing about debt-free engagement rings, and four different guys sold collections (KISS memorobilia, hockey jerseys, baseball cards, and snowboard stuff), and all four paid for their multi-thousand dollar engagement rings in one fell swoop.

    • Laurie says:

      Not at all – selling small stuff can add up to big bucks. I was just pointing out not to be afraid of selling the big stuff too. 🙂

  2. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor says:

    I completely agree with the idea of selling something big, if possible. There’s a myth that the sunk cost of selling those big items makes it not worth it, but it’s simply not true. Change has to start somewhere and that may be de-owning in order to get rid of debt. For example, why not sell a car you’re in debt over and get something you can buy in cash. You can always save up for a nicer ride once you’ve ditched the $500/month car payment.

  3. I wouldn’t limit selling your stuff to just the big things. We looked around and found all kinds of things large and small that we didn’t need or didn’t really add to our happiness and sold what we could. We used a grand debt repayment kick-start to make a mental impression and provide the motivation to embrace a new debt payoff focused budget that was sustainable without feeling deprived over the long haul.

    • Laurie says:

      Me too, Tanya!! I’ve learned SO much from blogs and books from the library that didn’t cost me a dime yet increased my personal finance knowledge tenfold. Education really goes a long way!

  4. Jaime says:

    I once had $5,000 in debt (the most debt I’ve ever had in my entire life) and I paid it off by taking a car to carmax and they bought it for $3000 dollars. That’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  5. fehmeen says:

    I really like your comment about ‘good being the enemy of best’ and it applies to everything from debt repayment to blogging! It can be daunting to repay your debt especially if it’s a bucket load and sometimes what you need is a bit of a push, or a jump start as you wrote, to get on the track. You may be surprised at how much junk you can sell once you are determined to make money that way.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Fehmeen! I agree that “good” can really cause trouble. We used to fall for the lie that because our debt “wasn’t as bad” as others we knew that it was okay to have. What a debilitating thought process!

  6. Josh says:

    Selling something is the quickest way to get cash. My wife and I do the “challenge everything” a couple times a year. Even cutting the little things add up, such as do you really Netflix if it’s watched once a month and you are on a tight budget?

  7. I always think the best way to get ahead is to make money. I see it with my clients all the time but as their bank accounts grow, they feel like they have more room to breathe. Even if they can’t tackle debt as fast as possible, they know they at least have some wiggle room when there’s extra money in the bank.

  8. In the United States, especially people who have houses where they can dump a lot of stuff in random places like basements, there is always more that can be sold. I am a huge advocate of selling your stuff!

  9. The psychological benefit of a jump start is huge! It’s like the encouragement of losing 5 lbs. in a week. It makes you keep wanting to eat healthy foods (deny spending impulses) and exercise (budget and track expenses). After spending so much on renovations these last few months, we are due for a new jump start to get us back to our “money makeover.”

  10. Diana says:

    This Christmas season, my work load is more and I feel blessed because it increases my income, making me more capable of getting out of debt. This is just a start and I know I can pay my debt off and be debt-free before this year ends. I am just excited about it Laurie.

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  12. Iforonwy says:

    Another great post Laurie!
    Each year I try to keep a spreadsheet of any extra that we have made during the year. I don’t tell ‘Im-Indoors the amount until the end of the year! Well today I added up and it comes to £3245 (about $4,867)

    It came from our payments from generating solar electricity, my little job invigilating high school examinations, interest on investments, selling on e-bay and to a friend who does carboots, and vouchers from companies.

    It does not include the savings made on annual premiums for car, household and savings negotiated on tariffs for utilities. I always question the renewal amounts and try to negotiate it down. This year I could not negotiate the utility tariffs down and so the company gave me a £50 ($75) Amazon voucher to stay with the company.

    Every little helps as a well known store this side of the pond uses as its advertising slogan.

    • Laurie says:

      That is WONDERFUL news!! I love that you don’t tell I’m-indoors until the grand total is calculated – I do similar things with my hubby as it tends to keep him more motivated. 🙂 Keep up the great work, my friend. Can’t wait to see what next year brings for you!

  13. These are great tips! For me personally, I have used several of these to jumpstart my debt payoff. I still have a ways to go but I’ve made a dent in it for sure. I think you’re right, you have to really attack it by paying off as much as you can as quickly as possible. I’ve definitely sold some things to make that happen and I’ve also increased and diversified my income. Every little bit helps.

    Another great post Laurie!

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