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6 Ways to Find Extra Money to Pay Off Credit Card Debt


By Christy Bieber, The Motley Fool

If you're struggling to pay off credit card debt, you know how expensive and difficult debt repayment can be. Credit card interest costs a ton and much of your monthly payment likely goes towards covering interest costs rather than paying off principal.

Paying extra each month is essential if you want to get out of debt ASAP. But finding extra cash can be difficult.

The good news is there are ways to increase your income and put more money toward paying off your credit card debt. You can try these six techniques to help you get extra cash to send to your credit card issuer so you can say goodbye to your big monthly bills in less time than you imagined possible.


1. Consider a side gig

While many people focus on cutting spending when repaying debt, there's a limit to how much you can reduce what you spend. But there's no limit to the amount you can earn.

If you put in the time and effort, you could make hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars per month to pay off your credit card debt. You can do this by working overtime at the job you have or by picking up a side gig for extra income.

There are tons of side gigs out there and almost everyone can handle something in the hours away from their regular jobs. This might be babysitting, walking dogs, driving for a ride-share service, selling crafts on Etsy, or doing some freelance or contracting work in your industry.

If you put all your spare money from the side gig into paying off credit card debt, you should be able to make substantial extra payments and clear your debt in no time.


2. Use coupons and pocket the savings

Using coupons is a great way to cut spending on the purchases you have to make. You can use coupons from the Sunday paper, print them from the internet, or look for codes you can use when shopping online.

Each time you use a coupon to reduce the price of something you buy, immediately make an extra payment for that amount on your credit cards. These small extra payments can really add up, especially if you're diligent about looking for opportunities to save or if you plan your purchases around coupons and sales.


3. Switch to a bank with no fees

Bank fees have been on the rise, but there's little reason to pay for your account. There are plenty of great banks out there that don't charge a monthly maintenance fee and that even reimburse you for ATM use. (Most of our favorite savings accounts are fee-free.)

While it may not be a ton of money, cutting out these fees gives you a little extra cash each month so you can increase your regular payment.


4. Change your tax withholding status

If you get a big tax refund every year, you're lending money to the government interest-free. If you use your refund to pay your cards once a year, you're carrying a balance longer than you need to. And paying interest for months while giving the IRS a loan.

Instead of waiting for your big refund, change your withholding status to get more of your money with each paycheck. Then use this extra cash to pay your credit card bills. You'll be able to make larger payments each month, reducing the principal and interest you pay.


5. Cut your utility costs

Utility bills often eat up a big part of your monthly budget -- especially if you run the heater or air conditioner a lot. Fortunately, it's easy to cut these bills with some simple lifestyle changes.

Adjusting your thermostat up a degree in summer and down a degree in winter probably won't make a noticeable difference in your comfort level but could save you $10 every month. You can also cut utility costs by sealing up cracks in your home around doors and windows, unplugging electronics when not in use, or getting a programmable thermostat.

It might not seem like much, but it adds up over time. Those savings can cut a lot from the interest you pay on your credit card.


6. Slash your dining-out and entertainment expenses

Finally, consider cutting discretionary expenses for fun stuff while you're paying off credit card debt. While it can be hard to stick to a long-term budget that provides little money for fun, making drastic temporary cuts can help you pay off your credit card debt ASAP.

You can reduce spending dramatically on entertainment by making an effort to find free activities. Meet your friends for a walk rather than a coffee, for example, or have a clothing swap party rather than going to the mall.

You can also cut spending on dining out by making a weekly meal plan, bringing your lunch to work, and cooking extra portions so you have leftovers for nights you don't feel like cooking.
You really can become debt free with a little extra effort.

While it requires some effort and sacrifice on your part, temporary cuts to spending and increasing income can pay big dividends when it comes to repaying credit card debt.

With one or more of these techniques, you can find extra cash to pay off your debt and be done with paying credit card interest for good.

The Motley Fool owns and recommends MasterCard and Visa, and recommends American Express. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule. If we wouldn’t recommend an offer to a close family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Ascent either. Our number one goal is helping people find the best offers to improve their finances. That is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

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