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Start Tackling Your Debt One Dollar at a Time

Are you ready to start tackling your debt? Yes, it can seem daunting to start tackling your mountain of debt, but it IS possible! By focusing on paying off just one dollar at a time, paying off any debt is possible. Even a massive debt can be paid off sooner than you might think. Just keep your head down and keep chuggin! You can do it!

Don’t Forget Your Reasons For Getting Out of Debt

If you start tackling your debt without a real reason, then you likely won’t ever get to the finish line. For instance, if you decide that you would like to pay your debts down because it would make your spouse happy, or because your friends are doing it, these are not real reasons. You need to be emotionally driven by your reason because your debts simply won’t get paid off overnight. It’s going to take a while, and you need to have some solid reasons to stay driven for the long haul.

20141123 - spam and riceThese are some fantastic reasons for tackling your debt that I have heard recently:

  • You don’t want to live on spam and rice in retirement
  • You are sick of the bank and credit card companies stealing interest from you
  • You would like to have more cash flow to stop living paycheck to paycheck
  • You don’t want to be tied to your lousy job because of poor financial planning
  • You would like to buy a reliable vehicle that will stop breaking down on you
  • You want your kids to live a better life than you did

Do any of these reasons resonate with you? I hope so! Write your reasons down, tape them up by your mirror, and never forget why you are inflicting pain on yourself in the present by tackling your debt. By enduring a little bit of pain now you will create a future life free of stress and worry (oh, and don’t forget, you’ll be rich too!).

Before You Start Tackling Your Debt…

I know it is exciting to get out there and start paying down your debts, but there is just one thing that you need to do first: set up an emergency fund. Emergencies happen, and unfortunately we never know when they’re coming. If you started paying down your debts like crazy and only had $50 in the bank when your car breaks down, then guess where the money is going to have to come from? Your credit card, which means you’ll have to dive deeper into debt. We don’t want this to happen! To avoid your danger of falling deeper into debt (which can be a huge emotional blow by the way), please please please set up an emergency fund of at least $1,000. This will be enough to pay for most of your disasters and will allow you to keep paying down your debt.

make extra moneySo how are you supposed to get this $1,000? It might sound like a ton of money right now, but it is possible. Here are a few ideas for you to get that thousand bucks in your savings account:

  • Sell stuff you already own and don’t need
    • DVDs, video games, CDs
    • Furniture
    • TVs
    • Toys, kids stuff that they have outgrown
    • Recreational toys – quads, jet skis, riding lawn mower, exercise equipment, golf clubs
  • Get a side job
    • Deliver pizzas
    • Bar-tend, waitress, hostess
    • Work from home as a virtual assistant, writer, editor, or SEO expert
    • Part-time truck driver/delivery service
  • Begin your own small business
    • Buy and sell items of interest to you – cars/sports equipment/tires/etc.
    • Detail cars
    • Clean houses
    • Pet sit/dog walk

Out of all of these options, I’m certain that you would be able to scrounge up $1,000 for your emergency fund.

Stay Consistent

The next part of paying off the debt is fairly simple. Here is the process:

  1. Reduce your expenses to a minimum, track it with a budget
  2. Increase your income (you could use some of the options above)
  3. Pay off the smallest debt first and then move up from there
  4. Give yourself small rewards for achievements along the way
  5. Stay consistent and push yourself until all your debts are gone!

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it’s not. I have been paying off my debts for six years now and I am finally about to cross the finish line (I plan to pay off the mortgage in December). All of the things I have encouraged you to do above I have done myself. My emergency fund is in place, I have reduced my expenses to next-to-nothing, my income is up, the debts were paid one at a time, I rewarded myself along the way (remember the bike?), and most importantly, I have stayed consistent.

By focusing on paying just one dollar at a time and doing this month by month, I was able to make massive debts vanish over time. It most certainly IS possible and I know that you can do it as well. Please share your story below as a motivator to others!

Are you currently paying off your debts? Tell me about it below!

Get Out of Debt Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Good for you Derek. Words of wisdom (which I share frequently with my 20-something son). Can’t wait to see your blog when your mortgage is paid off! Tic toc.

    • Haha. The more you comment about it, the slower my progress feels! 😉 But yes, the mortgage will be gone soon and then I’ll have to shift into investor mode.

  2. Another good idea is to write down the reasons why you want out of debt. The journey to becoming debt free is a long one and you will have times when you want to give up. It is nice to have the list of reasons why you want out of debt to remind you and possibly motivate you to keep pushing forward.

    • Yup, that is always important as well! If you do not know your “why” then you will probably burn out long before you pay off all your debts! Thanks for the addition Jon!

    • Haha. Of course you would make that comment! 😉 I honestly don’t know if I would have the analacity (yes I just made up this word) to track every single penny!

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