At a Glance
If you have credit card debt, the idea of paying it off completely can feel overwhelming, or even impossible. It may feel like no matter how much you put toward it the total isn’t going down, or perhaps you don’t have extra funds to make additional payments or pay off more than the minimum.
The first step in eliminating credit card debt is to stop adding to it, so if you can, cut back on the use of your credit card. The next step may be to figure out a way to make extra money to pay off your debt. What works for you depends on your own situation, how much extra time you have, and whether you can turn knowledge or hobbies into something that generates income.
If you need help paying off credit card debt, read on to learn more about:
Ideas to make extra money to pay off debt
Most credit cards have a minimum payment you must make each month to ensure your account stays in good standing. However, the minimum may be as low as $30 or $40. Whether you’re only paying the minimum, or as much as you can but not paying it off in full, high interest rates will continue to add to your total and your balance will continue to increase.
Sometimes, a person’s income or other necessary expenses don’t leave much wiggle room in the budget to make greater payments toward credit card debt. However, there are ways to make extra money to pay off that debt, some of which don’t have to take a lot of time or effort.
Regardless of which option you pick, it’s crucial that you put all extra earned funds toward paying off your credit card debt. Then, once that debt is paid off, you can put it toward other debt or in a savings account or emergency fund.
Here are seven ways to make extra money to pay off your credit card debt:
Start with a budget
Create and stick to a plan for how you spend your dollars.
- Start by writing down your monthly take-home income.
- Then, subtract all of the necessary bills or expenses you have, such as mortgage/rent, utilities, cell phone, loan payments, gas, etc.
- In a separate column, list out all of your unnecessary expenses each month, such as entertainment, dining out, subscriptions, gym memberships, etc. Total up these costs.
Ideally, once you subtract your unnecessary expenses from your remaining budget, you still have money left over to put toward paying off debt or into savings. However, in some cases, you may be spending more than you make.
Start with those unnecessary expenses and see where you can make cuts:
- Do you have a gym membership that you don’t use? Or even if you do use it, can you do those exercises at home and skip the gym?
- Do you have any subscriptions you can eliminate, such as Netflix or Hulu?
- Can you eliminate eating out as often as you currently do, and only do so once a week or once every other week?
- Are you spending on things you don’t need, such as clothes, shoes, or accessories? Can you avoid shopping for these items?
Then, think about how you can lower your necessary expenses, like:
- Using coupons or shopping sales when grocery shopping.
- Being more aware of turning off lights and unplugging unused electronics at home.
- Talking to your utility or phone company about how you can lower your monthly bill.
- Switching to a lower-cost cell phone provider.
Finally, come up with a budget that works for you. Experts recommend using the 50/30/20 rule, where you allocate 50% of your income to necessities, 30% (or less) to discretionary items (needs/wants). And 20% or more to savings and debt payments. The key is to put all of the extra savings or funds you find toward your credit card bill.
The other key is to avoid using your credit card as much as possible, so decreasing how much you spend on entertainment, eating out, shopping for fun, etc. can help prevent your bill from rising.
Start a side hustle
A side hustle is a job that brings in extra money beyond one’s regular job and main source of income.
It’s estimated that 45% of working Americans have a side hustle, and on average, 31.2% make $1,000-5,000 per month. On average, side hustlers spend 11-16 hours per week on their business, but you can spend more or less time depending on your schedule flexibility.
Some of the most popular side hustles include:
- Online business such as blogging, podcasting, or affiliate marketing
- Freelancing and consulting
- Local services, such as cleaning, pet walking/sitting, babysitting, etc.
- Gig economy jobs, like Instacart, Lyft, or Uber Eats
- E-commerce, selling things they own or make on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.
Your side hustle can come from a hobby, where you turn something you love into an income generator. It can also be something you’re good at, such as freelancing for social media services because you’re a social media specialist in your day-job.
Or, if you’re crafty or creative, you can make and sell items such as t-shirts, jewelry, candles, sweets, or crocheted items.
The important thing is because you’ll likely be doing your side hustle on top of a day job, be sure not to burn yourself out or take on too much work.
Make money from home
If you don’t have a specialty or hobby you can turn into income, there are other ways you can make money from home, most often online. Examples include:
- Online tutoring
- User-testing products
- Virtual assisting
- Completing online surveys
- Writing reviews for products
- Renting gadgets or items
- Entering data online
Do an internet search for “how to make money online” or “how to make money from home” and you’ll find hundreds of options.
Sell your things
If you have extra home items, clothes, shoes, accessories, or other gadgets you no longer use, consider selling them online. You can use sites like Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or others to list your items and find buyers.
Get a second job/pick up extra hours
This isn’t feasible for everyone, but if you have room in your schedule or more flexibility with your time, consider asking your current job if you can pick up extra hours or applying for a second job.
Some jobs will pay a higher hourly wage for overtime or second or third shift. This could even be something you do on your own schedule, like driving for DoorDash or Uber.
Ask for a raise
This may seem obvious, but also often forgotten. To make extra money to pay off debt, talk to your boss to learn if there are any opportunities for a promotion or raise. Any extra income you make can then be put toward your debt payments.
You don’t need a lot of money to invest. Apps like Robinhood or Acorn allow you to invest with as little as $5. These services allow you to invest in stocks, options, EFTs, cryptocurrency, and others, and are popular choices for casula investors and traders. Acorn also allows you to round up your purchases on linked credit or debit cards, and those extra cents are put toward your investment and savings.
If you’re looking for something that may be a little risker but return a higher reward, you can look into investing yourself. Or, talk to a professional advisor about your best options for your own situation.
Or, if you already have some investments, consider cashing those out. While you don’t want to touch your retirement account, other investments can be cashed out to pay off your debt. Keep in mind that you may have penalties or taxes depending on the type of investment, so do your research to understand if this is a viable option.
Commonly asked question
Can you get a grant to pay off credit cards
A grant is money that originates from the government that unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back. While there are personal grants available for some needs, there is no program designed to eliminate consumer debt, like credit card debt.
How much extra should I pay on my credit card?
You should always pay the minimum monthly payment required, but the more you can put toward your bill, the better. If you have multiple cards with debt, pay as much as you can toward one balance while paying the minimum on the others until you’re able to pay that off, and continue doing that until all are paid off. It never hurts to pay extra toward your card.