48 Silly Things Anyone Can Do to Pay off Debt At Warp speed

With the increased cost of living, layoffs galore and no relief in sight, drebt has become more of a norm than most would like to admit. Unfortunately, once you get yourself into debt, it’s hard to dig yourself out of it. This is especially true when all the suggestions for debt relief that you normally hear are either unrealistic for your lifestyle or just didn’t work when you tried. If the normal suggestions to pay off debt don’t work that means it’s time you get a little ridiculous.

The truth is that what’s “normal” isn’t always good at yielding results or may not be in alignment with your life. What’s normal is likely what landed everyone in debt in the first place. That’s why I dare to be different: Dig myself out of debt and do it in the most creative ways possible.

When I first tell people I plan to be completely debt-free, I tend to get a few different reactions. People are either really impressed with my drive or they give a sarcastic smile and blatantly tell me it’s ridiculous because debt is just a part of life we need to accept.  Though my decision seemed silly and limiting to some, I knew that it was much better than being normal. Many of you can probably relate to the below “normals” too.

  • I was sick of my heart dropping every time SallieMae called and coming up with excuses to avoid them.
  • I was sick of seeing the majority of my paychecks being spent on debt for a school that made me miserable.
  • I was sick of having to consider student loan payments before every financial decision I made.
  • I was sick of feeling like I was dealt a life sentence for getting an education.
  • I was sick of putting my lofty travel plans on the back burner to hundreds of dollars of student loan payments each month.
  • I was sick of feeling ashamed that I didn’t do my research before college and therefore found myself in a hole of debt on top of debt that far exceeds my income.
  • I was sick of the realization that I was unlikely to be able to ever afford a house because my student loan balance was already almost identical to a mortgage.
  • I was sick of watching my credit score drop because of difficulty making payments and a burdening debt-to-income ratio. 
The normal thing is to do is be in debt. The crazy thing to do is get and stay out of it. Let me teach you my crazy ways.
The normal thing is to do is be in debt. The crazy thing to do is get and stay out of it. Let me teach you my crazy ways.

Of course, when I explained all this to people who questioned my decision to be debtfree, I usually got the same answer. “Oh, that’s normal. You shouldn’t feel that way. Almost everyone deals with that now.”

I still can’t wrap my head around that logic. Drowning in student loan debt should never be seen as normal, yet it is. If suffering from debt is normal, I’d much rather be silly and do what I can to get rid of it quickly.

So I did every “ridiculous” thing I could think of to climb out of the hole I found myself in. But of course, the things I did weren’t really that “ridiculous”. They just aren’t the norm. Yet, those “ridiculous” things I did are exactly what helped me pay off two loans in three months. It was only a matter of time before my silly started to catch on and people became amazed with how I did it. Now I have people asking me all the time what I did to make such progress. Lucky for you, it’s a bit easier to step into the wild side than you think.

Here are a few ridiculous, wild and out right silly ways to pay off debt:

  1. Shop only using gift cards

The normal thing to do is to shop using cash, credit and checks. The crazy thing to do is visit a cash back site and buy the gift card you plan on shopping for online to earn points. This helps earn more money that can be applied to your student loan plus helps you stay within your budget.

2. Have over 6 different bank accounts

The normal thing to do is to have one or two bank accounts – usually checking and saving. However, having several different counts makes it easier for you to see how much money you have, save for goals and budget. When you have all your money in the same account your finances get blurred and you spend money you don’t have which means you have less to put towards your student loans. Separate accounts into different categories such as spending, groceries, travel, emergency, etc.

3. Ditch the movie channels

The normal thing to do is have all the movie channels cable providers offer. But that normal thing is also a big money suck. Do the crazy thing by ditching all the movie channels and getting your movies from the library instead. The money you save can easily be applied to those pesky loans.

4. Do grocery shopping during the week

Normal people go grocery shopping on the weekend when it’s crowded. But the silly folks like me go shopping during the week. Not only do I avoid the crowds that way, but I get better deals. Grocery stores tend to put meats and produce at lower prices during the week. – especially on Tuesday and Wednesday.

5. Watch videos daily to earn points

Normal people just don’t do this at all or they only watch videos on YouTube. Crazy people like me watch videos on Swagbucks and Mypoints to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. of course, that means less money coming out of pocket for shopping and more money being put towards loans.

6. Take pictures of receipts

If you’re normal you probably refuse receipts at the store, let them collect at the bottom of your purse or just throw them out. Silly people earn by taking pictures of their receipts and submit them to places like Ibotta, Receipt Pal, and Receipt Hog.

7. Sell items on Facebook

Everyone’s got completely useable items collecting dust in their homes. The normal thing to do is keep them. However, the crazies get to work taking photos to place on Facebook yardsale groups to rack in some extra dough that can be put toward debt. To find these sale groups, do a search on Facebook for “yard sale + plus a town near you”. You’ll most likely see lots of groups in your area for people looking to sell things.

8. Shop only on Facebook

Don’t just sell on Facebook. Shop on Facebook too. Check for items you need on Facebook yard sale groups to pay a fraction of the price. Or spend no money, and let your local “Buy nothing” group be your first stop before shopping for various items.

9. Sign up for every store newsletter possible

Normal people ignore store newsletters. Those who are on a mission to go debt free sign up for store newsletters so they don’t miss out on any of those coupons and discounts. Just make sure you create free email account to send all those newsletters to so they don’t inundate your regular inbox. Plus, putting them in a different inbox limits any temptation to spend frivolously.

10. Check bank accounts everyday

The reason why people never seem to have enough money to pay off debt is because they never know how much money they have. Normal people blindly swipe their debit cards or credit cards without taking a glance at the account and hope the machine says your card was approved. Silly people check their bank accounts every day to see how much money they have and spend accordingly so they can pay off that debt and live comfortably. Plus, you never know what recurring charges you may be blindly paying.

11. Meal plan weekly

The normal thing to do is to play it by ear when it comes to eating by throwing together anything you can find or buying something on the road. But that’s also the more expensive way. Silly people take some time each week to plan their meals to avoid spending money unnecessarily.

12. Shop out of season

The normal thing to do is to buy everything you need in season. However, I like to shop out of season when everything is on deep discount. I buy winter coats in the summer and sandals in the winter. It saves me a bundle which allows me to put extra towards debt.

13. Write to companies

If you’re normal you probably buy products you love without saying anything to the company. I, on the other hand, like to write emails to them letting the company know how much I love their product/service and why. Not always, but sometimes they show appreciation for my letter by sending coupons and discounts for future purchases.

14. Ask for discounts

Normal people accept the first price that’s given to them. People like me ask for discounts at every chance I get. The worst thing they could do is say no. So go ahead and ask the company if they accept student discounts or if you can get that hotel room at the weekday rate. You never know what they might say.

15. Drink only water

The normal and costly thing to do is drink juice, soda, and alcohol whenever you get the chance. But us crazy folks have dedicated their lives to water. Not only does it allow us to save money by helping us get out of debt faster, but it’s healthier.

16. Get a water filter

Why spend money on water bottles you throw out when you can get a water filter and fill up your own reusable bottle when necessary?

17. Catch the DIY bug

I’m not so wild when it comes to this one yet, but I’d like to be. Save money by making the things you’d normally buy. For example, you can make your bread or repurpose furniture.

18. Freeze everything

I hate letting things go bad. It’s like wasting money. I like freezing anything I could possibly think of to preserve its shelf life. My favorite thing to freeze is bread.

19. Skip the salon

Going to the salon can be expensive. Learn to do your hair and nails at home for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-pampering at the salon, but sometimes the savings from doing it home could help you get ahead with debt payoff.

20. Stock up on gifts

Rather than buy gifts last minute right before birthdays, weddings, or the holidays keep a little stash of gifts handy. When I find something gift-worthy at a great price, I buy it right away and keep it in the closet. That way when an unexpected wedding or birthday comes up, I’m prepared and won’t be found scrabbling for a gift last minute that could end up costing me more money. I do the same thing for cards too.

21. Eat at home

Nothing seems to rack up more than money spent on fast food and dining out. Do yourself a favor. Raid the pantry and eat to save some money. But my favorite way to save by eating at home is to to order meal prep packages like Home Chef or Hello Fresh.

22. Frequent the library

People think it’s hilarious that the librarians all know me by name. They can’t keep me away. Free books, movies, music, and interesting classes? Only “normal” people don’t take advantage of that. Plus, they networking opportunities from classes at the library can lend you earing more money.

23. Network when possible

Normal people often ask me how I manage to get so many discounts, take advantage of so many opportunities, and win so many contests. The answer is simple. I network. Let your circle know about what discount items you need, how much extra cash you are looking for, and how you are paying debt. You’re bound to be inundated with lots of information that will bring you closer to being debt free.

24. Skip shopping just because of sales

Normal people shop every time they get a coupon or see an ad for a sale. Silly people only shop sales when it’s something they need. After all, you’re not saving money that can be applied towards debt if you’re buying things you don’t need because of a good deal.

25. Only use cash at the pump

I don’t know about other states, but in NJ you pay more to get gas when you use a debit or credit card than you do if you pay cash. I used to be one of the normal people and constantly used my card at the pump. But now I’m ridiculous and make sure I withdraw some cash when buying gas. It’s worth the extra savings.

26. Ditch the gym membership

Coming from a Zumba instructor at multiple gyms, this sounds crazy. But you can save hundreds of dollars by canceling your gym membership and working out at home or with a group of friends for free. Pocket that extra cash and put it towards that debt payoff.

27. Take advantage of referral links

Recommending companies and products without providing your referral link is the normal and dumb thing to do. Instead, be crazy and share your referral links to your favorite companies when recommending products to earn big.

28. Exchange gifts after Christmas

Black Friday is great, but all the wild people know the best deals are always after the holiday season. Don’t exchange gifts during the holidays. Instead, wait till after to take advantage of all those markdowns.

29. Post needs on Facebook

A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. So ask for what you need and don’t be afraid to head to Facebook to do it. So if you need more ideas on paying off debt faster, just ask on Facebook. You might get some great tips.

30. Be open about your goal to pay off debt

Normal people keep their financial goals to themselves. Wild people let everyone they know help hold themselves accountable. Letting people know helps build a support system and makes it easier to stick to your goals of paying off debt.

31. Avoid credit cards

Normal people keep credit cards because they believe it’s the American way. But in reality, it’s just keeping them in debt. Crazy people avoid credit cards and only spend what they have to avoid debt.

32. Use cash as much as possible

Credit may be king but cash rules the universe. Atleast, that’s what us crazy folks believe. Constantly swiping cards desensitizes you. You start to disassociate it with money which you end up spending more of. Of course, that means less is applied to paying off debt. Use cash as much as possible as it’s harder to part with so you’ll be more inclined to spend wisely and keep more of that money to yourself.

33. Leave items in your shopping cart

Normal people do all their online shopping at the same time. Ridiculous people plan by selecting the items they’d like to buy, put them in their online shopping cart and then leave it there. If you leave it there long enough, you’ll begin getting reminder emails alerting you to the things in your cart as well as a coupon to use.

34. Pay more than the minimum

The normal thing to do is pay the minimum payment on debt. The smart thing is to pay more than the minimum to pay it off faster and lessen the amount of interest paid on the balance.

35. Make registries for yourself

You don’t need to have a baby shower or wedding shower to create a registry. Crazy folks know this and make registries whenever they can. Why? Because of the perks. Many stores allow you to earn coupons, rewards and cash back for items purchased off your registry. All those rewards can you help you pay off that debt.

36. Sign up for free samples

Why pay when you can get it for free. Websites such as pinchme.com allow you to use free samples in exchange for product reviews.

37. Create and sell your own tshirts

Normal people buy things from other people. Crazy people sell to other people. Teespring and Zazzle allow you to design your own products and sell them. Check out a few of my designs here and here.

36. Stay organized

When you are messy,  you don’t know what you have so you end up buying things you don’t need. Staying organized allows you to keep track of possessions which means less spending and more to apply towards debt.

37. Check retailmeknot.com

Normal people shop online without doing any research. Silly people never shop online without checking retailmeknot.com for coupon codes first.

38. Put your vacation photos to use

If you are normal you probably take photos of your vacations and then just allow them to take up space on your phone or computer. However, us forward thinking silly people put those photos to use and sell them to stock photography sites or create products to sell with them like these postcards I created with photos from my honeymoon.

39. Take vitamins

The healthier you are the less you need to spend on medication, diet supplements, doctor visits, etc. Taking vitamins helps.

40. Entertain at home

Normal people go out to eat whenever they want to hang out with friends. Crazy people bring the party to their home to save money. Make some cookies, get a bottle of wine, and play some board games instead to save some money.

41. Make the happy hour menu your best friend

If you do happen to go out instead, make sure you become acquainted with the happy hour menu. The happy hour menu is like gold. That’s where all the savings are.

42. Buy produce in season

Normal people buy their favorite produce all year round. Crazy people buy it when in season. I know apples may be your favorite fruit of all time, but try to reserve your purchase for the fall when they are in season and cheaper.

43. Follow Meatless Monday

Meat is expensive. Save by cutting out meat one day a week. You’ll be surprised with how much you cut down.

44. Avoid auto-renewing insurance

If you are auto renewing your insurance you are doing it all wrong. Don’t be afraid to shop around to see what other discounts and savings you may be eligible for else where.

45. Live on one salary

Normal people in a two income household live according to two paychecks. Silly people myself do what they can to live on one. Live in a way that allows one salary to go towards living expenses while the other salary can go towards to debt repayment.

46. Always get the receipt

You are throwing away money if you refusing to get your receipts when shopping. Yes, I know you are all about saving trees but doing so wastes your money. Getting receipts allow you to double check you were charged the correct amount for items. I have caught several mistakes before.

47. Apply the change

Normal people usually reserve the change from purchases to buy something else. I on the other hand round up to the nearest dollar and put that towards my student loans. Sure it may only be 24 cents here and there, but that small change certainly adds up.

48. Keep coupons in the car

I learned this one from my wild mother. Normal people keep their coupons in a stash at home, crazy people like my mother keep coupons in their car. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in the store needing to buy something and remembering that 20 percent off coupon is left at home. Keep all coupons in the car so you’ll be able to take advantage of them during impromptu shopping trips

So there you have it. Several ways anyway can be wild and pay off that debt at warp speed. I know it’s a lot, but doing even just one of these things can make a big difference in speeding up your debt repayment plan.

49. Make your financial goal your password
Normal people have their logins set to “autosave” so they never have to type it in. Silly people uncheck that feature and make their passwords a financial goal to help keep them motivated and focused.

50.

What crazy steps have you taken to pay off debt? Have you done any of the things listed above?

TERRIfic Quip: If it’s not ridiculous, delusional, and wild beyond dreams, it’s not wort the time.

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27 Comments

  1. These are great tips. The one I have a hard time with utilizing properly is buying from Facebook; since I can’t just buy what I need at any given time, I run into buying things I don’t need because they’re a “great deal.”
    My crazy method of paying down debt is blogging. Eek! I love writing and needed a flexible part time job, so I’m trying to make an income within the next year. My husband thinks I’m absolutely bonkers.. But I’ve made $1.50 so far. Haha!

    1. I’m with you. Those Facebook deals can definitely be hard to resist sometimes. And girl, be proud of your $1.50 in profit. We all gotta start somewhere!

  2. Wonderful tips! I’m always looking for new ideas to save money and get out of debt! 9 years ago, my husband and I attended Financial Peace University and while we never got completely out of debt (mortgage and student loans still), we definitely cleaned up our act. I need posts like this to keep me on track in my every day living. Thanks so much!

  3. Wow! You and I have a ton in common – I’m surprised. 🙂 I’m also setting a crazy goal to get out of debt super fast. My wifea nd I have almost $200k in debt and we are working to pay it down within 3 years. Crazy, right? We don’t even have a house yet! It’s all student debt. Ugh. Anyway, people always tell us that we need to “just get used to debt” or they say “you’re never going to actually get out of debt, you know that, right?” But I AM going to get out of debt by using so many of these crazy things that you shared right here. I will get out. I am doing it. 🙂 Love this post and your blog!!

    1. Glad to see I’m not the only one who has gotten used to being called crazy for trying to get out of debt. NO matter what anyone says, being in debt isn’t and shouldn’t be the norm. Good luck to you on this crazy debt payoff journey!

  4. Some really awesome tips here. Our number one money saver over the last few years has been shutting off the cable/satellite completely and only having Netflix and amazon Prime.

    1. Ugh I’m so jealous of you! I’ve been trying to talk my husband into ditching cable for Netflix but since he’s a major sports fanatic I can’t get him to make the move.

  5. Thanks for the tips! I often choose to not have a receipt. I love saving the earth. But I should double check them, just to be sure. And then recycle. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  6. Great post – Really enjoyed this.

    Being debt free is a liberating goal and one that many people aspire to achieve but rarely take the time to identify how they’ll do it. Your insights here about entertaining at home and avoiding credit cards is extremely valuable. It’s crazy that these insights aren’t talked about more in schools.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I totally agree. They definitely should be taught in school. It’s definitely a disservice that children aren’t taught any type of financial literacy in school. At the very least, they should be taught about credit cards and student loan debt as high school seniors.

    2. Yes! There definitely needs to be a financial literacy course in high school and college. And they should be mandatory classes for graduation.

      As for credit cards I’m just not a fan of them. Period. Society is just way to obsessed with the plastic and only gets people into trouble.

  7. These are some amazeballs tips! I get overwhelmed by my student loans. I am proud of my graduate degree but looking at that staggering student loan balance makes me wish I had done a little more research before starting school. Anyway, I am happy to say I actually do several of these! I wanted to add selling your gently used clothing or equipment on ThredUp or Swap.com, I also sell to places like Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, Kid to Kid, Once Upon a Child and Clothes Mentor. If you haven’t, you should definitely try them out. I get a couple of hundred dollars each time I go in. Thanks for the awesome and insightful tips!

    1. Hey there! I’ve definitely made a small fortune at Plato’s Closet. I’ve never used Thredup or Swap.com before. I’ve checked out Thredup.com but never took the leap. Perhaps, I should.

  8. Those are some great tips! I wish I had time to write a mail to all those companies I love their products. Also you are right about the stores, they have better deals during the week. Also you need to rush to buy the things you need only because the store is overcrowded. Great article!

    Zaria

    1. Glad you found these tips useful. Yes, I definitely learned the hard way to stay away from shopping on the weekends – especially on Sunday. Not only are there less sales but the stock is depleted from all the crowds scooping everything up. I must admit that I do miss all the free samples the grocery stores usually have on the weekend.

  9. Thanks! These were very helpful.

    Another tip: avoid showering/taking a bath every day. Saves money on water & heating.
    Alcohol wipes are helpful for when you need them & can cost less in the end.

  10. Some of these ideas are pretty interesting and I’ve done a few of them like living on one income, shopping with gift cards, and using referral links and coupons for discounts. Years ago, we cut our grocery shopping down to twice a month to save more money by shopping less and we still stick to that schedule today.

  11. Thank you for the tips! I already do a few of these but saw some that I’d love to apply to my budgeting. Every penny counts!

  12. There are so many exception tips in this post on ways to pay off debt at warp speed. I love the idea of writing to companies in hopes they would send coupons. I also need to start to meal plan weekly which is one of my downfalls.

  13. I often wonder what is normal and what is not. I’m afraid in the case of debt, society has made us accept it as normal. You can live life without it if you are committed to the idea of doing that.

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