How to Get Out Of Debt Fast When You Don’t Have Much Money

The post How to Get Out Of Debt Fast When You Don’t Have Much Money appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

How do you get out of debt when you are broke? After all, if you had the money,  you would not be in debt in the first place.  Right?

I hear this from people, just like you.  It is often not how much money you make, but the debt payoff plan you are using that is not working.  It is possible to get out of debt with no money; you just need to learn how.

get out of debt

There are plenty of inspiring stories of people sharing how they got out of debt, despite not making much money. In fact, you may feel you relate.  But yet, you don’t think you can do it. For whatever reason, you think you can’t get out of debt as they did.  It is impossible.

Or is it?

My husband and I were living on one income when we decided it was time to get out of debt.  It took us nearly 2 1/2 years but were able to pay off more than $37,000 in debt.  There are countless other stories of our readers who have paid off similar amounts in even less time.

I am here to tell you that you CAN (and should) get out of debt – no matter how little money you may make!!



I am going to share the steps anyone can follow to learn how to get out of debt – no matter your income level.  If you struggle to make ends meet, you already know how to make the most of a dollar, and I’ll give you additional tips so that you can pay down that debt.

I have asked this on Facebook all of the time, and some of the comments include:

“There is no way I can do this. Not with my medical bills.”

“Sure, that only works or some people – not me.”

Many of you may be thinking similar things, and I completely understand that way of thinking. I was there myself and know that it seems like an unattainable goal.  That is why you are reading this right now – to find out how to make this dream a reality.

Debt is NOT a Good Thing.

If you are in debt, it could be because of your own decisions or even those you can’t control (such as health, job loss, etc.).  No matter how it happened, you need to get rid of it. Period.

The reason you need to eliminate your debt is that it genuinely is holding you back. How can you move forward financially with this obstacle standing in your way?  If you found that you needed to buy a new car, you would find a way, correct?  For most, that would probably mean an additional monthly payment – but you would do it because you needed to.  You need to look at debt the same way:

“Getting out of debt is not a desire – it is a need.”


I remember in 2009 when my husband and I thought there was no way we could get ever get out from under our debt.  It was an impossible dream. At that time, I was not working at that time, and so we had one income and two young children to feed.  I initially thought that there was no way at all that we could do this.  It was just not possible.

We started by looking at our finances (oh – they were awful).  Our goal was to live a great life.  We could have kept on and kept just getting by, but that was not how we wanted to live. Just “getting by” was no longer an option.

Knowing our kids would be watching us, we knew the importance of being a good role model for them.  We wanted them to learn how to handle money by following our example.

We both agreed that not having debt was pivotal in having a positive financial future. We wanted this not only for ourselves but also for our children as well. It was also essential for our marriage.  We needed to remove anything that could potentially cause stress – money, and finances being a big one.  Our relationship was good, but we knew we could even make it better.

To begin our journey, we read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. We followed much of his advice but figured out some things that worked for us as well. Being debt free is a fantastic feeling that no one can describe.  You have to live it.



The very first step to getting out of debt is to decide you want to do it.  That was the change both my husband, and I made.  Once we were ready and committed to getting out of debt, we began our journey.

You might be saying that you can’t do that though.  I’m here to say that you can – when you really, truly want to make it happen.

Getting out of debt doesn’t require you to be rich. Anyone can do it.  Even if you have a low income or don’t have much money. Like I said above, knowing that you want to make the changes and pay off your debt is only one small part.  The more significant issue is how in the world you actually can do this.


1. Face YOUR Reality

According to CNN Money, the average American family made around $59,000 in 2017. While that is the average, it is also true that many Americans make much less than this.

With a lower income, it is even more critical that you have no debt at all. After all, you are already stretching every dollar to cover your bills. You don’t need additional payments causing more financial stress.

Unless you win the lottery, a wealthy relative leaves you a small fortune, or you find a better job, you know your income won’t change.  That is the truth. You can’t change that.

However, what you can and must do is take the steps you can to work yourself out from under the mountain of debt you may be facing. You need to first create a budget, determine how much debt you have and then the steps to pay it off, no matter how much money you make.


2. Fully Commit

If you are not 100% ready to make changes, then you are destined for failure. It may be blunt, but it is true. If you can’t “go all in” and fully commit to making whatever difficult changes necessary (trust me, it will be challenging), then you need to stop reading right now.

If you are ready to make this lifestyle change, then read on. You’ve already made huge strides to make changes in your life.


3. Create (and use) a Budget and Debt Snowball Form

Knowing where your money goes is paramount to getting out of debt, no matter how much you make. Without your budget, you can’t even consider getting out of debt.

If you have never created a budget, it can be overwhelming.  But, it will also be eye-opening.  In addition to your budget, you should create a debt snowball, start using the envelope system and take better control of your money.  By doing this, you will get a better picture of your debts and how you can tackle them.

Look at paying off debt like a football team.  Each part of your finances is involved in the game:

Home Team – This is you and your family
Visiting Team – These are your debts and expenses
Your End Zone – This is where you will be debt free
PlayBook – Budget and debt snowball forms
Football – Your money
Refs and Penalties – Unexpected instances which set you back in reaching your goals

You would never expect a team to run onto the field and play the game without having the proper plays in mind. The same is true for you;  If every one of the members of your family has a different idea as to how to get your money down the field to pay off your debts, you will never make it there.

Instead, you design smart plays and work together to get there.  You work to get your money past all of the expenses you need to dodge.  There may be setbacks, and you may have to move back before you can get forward.  However, with hard work, you will get there.  You will get onto the scoreboard – and end up claiming victory!


4. Find extra money

Before you jump in to try to pay off your debts, you need to have savings.  The reason is that if an emergency comes up, you need to pay for it – in cash.  You do not want to run to your credit card to cover the expense.  It is best to have at least $1,000 in the bank before you get started.

So, before you jump in to pay off those debts, you listed above, make sure you’ve got money in the bank to cover your unforeseen expenses by creating an emergency fund.

Once you have that done, then you are going to have to find a way to squeeze everything you can out of every cent.  For some, it may mean no longer dining out.  For others, it could be shutting off cable television.  Where there is a will, there will always be a way to make this happen.  You just have to do what you can!

I share this true story in our budget post, but I’m putting it here again for you!  My husband and I gave up dining out. No joke. We ate dinner out very infrequently.

While I look back and think it might have been once every couple of weeks, I asked my husband recently, and he said that we were lucky to eat out once a month! It was painful, but now that we’ve cut down out all of our debts, we have income freed up so we can have dinner out more frequently (if we so desire).

For even more inspiration and ideas, you may have to find some radical ways you can get cash to help you get out of debt.  Do whatever it takes (legally and within reason, of course), to help you get out of debt.

Read More:  60 Creative Ways to Save or Make Money


5. Find ways to get more money (i.e. side hustle and selling items)

To be honest, if you are struggling to make ends meet on a low income, you won’t be able to just cut enough out of your budget to pay off your debt.  Like my mom use to say – “You can’t get blood out of a turnip” – which means if it isn’t there-there is nothing you can do about it.

That is the truth, and I’m not trying to lie to you. I am realistic and know that if you are making barely enough to cover your expenses, you won’t have any extra money for your debt.  I get that.

You can’t save enough money on your budget to eliminate your debt.  Well, I guess you could, but that is going to take a very, very, VERY long time.  So, what do you do when you’ve saved all you can and still can’t pay off your debts?  Well, you just have to get creative.

For some this may mean finding items you no longer need, which you can sell to raise money.  When we did this step, we had the same issue.  We could not cut anything more from our budget.

For us, this meant selling items we no longer needed. We did a large cleanout and got rid of furniture and other things we were holding onto, just in case we needed them. By doing this, we were able to come up with several thousand dollars — 100% of which went immediately towards our debt.

If that isn’t an option, you might want to consider getting a second job or side business to bring in income to indeed help you get out of debt.  We also did this. I started my website.  Now, let me be Frank in saying that this is not a great way to make money.  Most blogs make little to nothing in the first couple of years.  I was lucky, and we did pretty well, and I was able to bring a bit more each year – all of which helped us to pay off our debts.

It may not be a blog, but perhaps babysitting, or cleaning houses, raking leaves, shoveling snow — there are all sorts of ways that you can make money.

Read More:  Unique Ways to Make Money From Home

It is not the income that is holding most people back, it is the understanding and knowing even where to start.  You might have to scale back on various spending aspects of your life, but when you get to scream from the rooftops — WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!! — it will be worth it all.  I promise you!!!


get out of debt

The post How to Get Out Of Debt Fast When You Don’t Have Much Money appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.


One-Tap Online Shopping Savings Compared: Capital One Shopping Vs. Honey

When you shop online, discount codes and coupons are a must. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Capital One Shopping and Honey to see which will save you more.When you shop online, discount codes and coupons are a must. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Capital One Shopping and Honey to see which will save you more.

The post One-Tap Online Shopping Savings Compared: Capital One Shopping Vs. Honey appeared first on Money Under 30.


[Targeted] 30,000 Membership Rewards Points For Enrolling In Pay Over Time

Update 12/3/21: New link. Hat tip to MtM

Update 10/23/21: New link. Hat tip to MtM

Update 10/3/21: New link to try. Hat tip to krokodil83

Update 9/15/21: More people targeted. Hat tip to YouFoundSugarMan

Update 8/26/21: More people targeted.

Update 7/2/21: More people targeted.

Update 4/29/21: More targeted.

Update 4/24/21: More people targeted.

Update 4/12/21: More people targeted for the 20,000 offer.

Update 3/25/21: 20k offer showing for more people under the statements & activity screen, can also try this link. Hat tip to reddit user BUT_WHY_MALE_M0DELS

Update 3/2/21: Some people are now seeing a 20,000 point offer when logged in.

Update 2/16/21: Another round has gone out at this link. Hat tip to abmo224

Update 9/10/20: Another round has gone out. Surprised to see this after American Express started auto enrolling cardholders. Hat tip to
Adam K.

Update 6/9/20: Another targeted link now available. Hat tip to TwelveBall

Update 5/19/20: Another link now available. Hat tip to DDG

Update 2/18/2020: Another link now available. Hat tip to corxion

Update 2/11/2020: Another link now available. Hat tip to trumanthepug

Update 1/15/2020: Another link now available. Hat tip to OMGitzSARS

Update 1/3/2020: Another link now available. Hat tip to coljung

Update 11/15/19: Another link now available. hat tip to MtM

Update 10/15/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to reader kcihtred2

Update 9/20/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to reader qmc

Update 9/17/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to JonLuca

Update 8/27/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to jasonalanmorgan

Update 8/13/19: Another link available here. Hat tip positivecontrol

Update 8/2/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to mc1nc4

Update 7/31/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to garettg

Update 7/2/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to Andrew D

Update 6/24/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to Andrew D

Update 6/21/19: Another link available here. Hat tip to BUT_WHY_MALE_M0DELS 

Update 6/2/19: Another link here. Hat tip to ClosertothesunNA.

Update 5/27/19: Another link here. Hat tip to CericRushmore

Update 5/21/19: More people targeted, new link here. Hat tip to reader ping

Update 5/9/19: More people targeted, new link here. Hat tip to lobonomnom

Update 5/3/19: More targeted, new link here. Hat tip to alexischase

Update 4/23/19: More people targeted, doesn’t seem to be a link to try this time unfortunately.

Update 4/10/19: Another day, another link to try. Hat tip to garettg

Update 4/4/19: Try this link. Hat tip to Aloha808

Update 3/12/19: Try this link. Hat tip to syr_eng

Update 3/7/19: New round has gone out.

Update 2/19/19: Here’s a new link (login required) which is working for a lot of people. You can also try calling 1-866-281-4438 and mentioning Offer Code: GCOR:0004. Hat tip to Uscreditcardguide.

Update 2/16/19: Another round, this time the link to try is: Hat tip to krex42

Update 1/24/19: Another round of offers has gone out.

Update 12/20/18: Another round of offers has gone out, check your e-mails to see if you are targeted.

Update 12/5/18: Another new link. This time courtesy of veeRob.

Update 11/27/18: Looks like another round went out. This time the link is: Hat tip to zackiv31

Update 11/21/18: MtM is reporting another round of targeted people. I don’t see any new links, but if anybody finds one please share it in the comments.

Update 11/07/2018: Another round of people targeted. New links to try:

  • One

Update 10/27/18: Three new links available to try:

  • One
  • Two
  • Three

Hat tip to The_Fartful_Codger

Snail mailers have also been sent out, so keep an eye out for those as well. Hat tip to nickohrn

The Offer

Links seem to be unique this time, check your regular mail & e-mail to see if you’ve been targeted (share any subject lines of e-mails in the comments below). One subjectline is ‘

  • American Express are currently offering selected charge cardholders 10,000 points when they enroll Extended Payment Option

The Fine Print

  • Email subject line is ‘You Qualify for a Flexible Payment Option’. People also being targeted via snail mail.
  • Another: Congratulations, <name>! You’ve Been Selected to Enroll in a Flexible Payment Option

Our Verdict

Fingers crossed we get a generic link to see if you are targeted or not. This is a fairly common offer, it’s not worth enrolling without this 10,000 bonus (sometimes they offer an interest free period but I’d wait for this offer). You should (hopefully) be paying off your credit card balance in full every month anyway.   If you have any questions about Pay Over Time (e.g hard/soft pull) I’d recommend reading through our F.A.Q on the topic found here. You don’t actually need to use the pay over time feature to get the 10,000 bonus points, you must simply enroll in it. The short of it is that it’s definitely worth doing if you’re targeted, just don’t actually use the feature and pay all of your credit card bills in full and on time.

Thanks to reader @MrBillington for providing the picture


Getting Back to Work Safely

As many states move to reopen businesses affected during COVID-19, it’s essential that building owners, managers and tenants follow safety guidelines to keep employees and…

The post Getting Back to Work Safely first appeared on Century 21®.


How to stack cards to get the most on your everyday spending

Running an errand to fill up your gas tank or restock your pantry may not be the most glamorous part of your day, but, with the right cash back card, you can make those everyday tasks much more rewarding.

Best credit card combinations for everyday spending

  • For maximizing points
  • For maximizing cash back
  • For Amex loyalists

There are many cash back credit cards that offer bonus rewards on everyday purchases such as gas and groceries. One of our favorites is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which gives you a whopping 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases and (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, 1% thereafter), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases and 1% cash back on everything else.

The card does charge an ongoing $95 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee for the first year), but we think that fee is well worth it if you want to earn the most cash back on your everyday spending. We figure that the average shopper who spends $15,900 on the card would earn around $323 in cash back each year.

Combination one: Maximizing points

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is another great card to pair with the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card. Just like the Cash Magnet card, it offers at least 1.5% cash back on every purchase. However, the rewards that you earn with the Freedom Unlimited card are a little more versatile than the Cash Magnet card and it comes with additional cash back categories: 5% on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, plus 3% on dining and drugstore purchases. You can transfer them to certain Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which awards a 25% bonus on those points when you redeem them for travel for the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

If you prefer to earn points rather than cash back on purchases that fall outside the Blue Cash Preferred card’s bonus categories, Ultimate Rewards cards are a great way to go:

Estimated yearly rewards: Amex Blue Cash Preferred + Chase Freedom Unlimited

Combined Rewards Average Rewards Rate Estimate cash back earned (after ongoing annual fee)
  • 6% U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter) with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 6% select U.S. streaming services with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 5% Chase Ultimate Rewards travel with the Freedom Unlimited card
  • 3% dining and drugstore purchases with the Freedom Unlimited card
  • 3% transit & U.S. gas stations with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 1.5% other purchases with the Freedom Unlimited card
3.49% $459.91

Combination two: Maximizing cash back

If you prefer cash back rewards and want to earn the most cash back possible, the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Blue Cash Preferred cards is one of the ultimate card pairings. The Citi Double Cash card offers up to 2% back on every purchase – 1% when you make the purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill on time.

Combined with the Blue Cash Preferred card, the Citi Double Cash card pushes the rewards rate to 3.19% cash back for the average cardholder. We figure that a cardholder who spends around $15,900 per year on these two cards can earn nearly $412 in cash back per year.

Estimated yearly rewards: Amex Blue Cash Preferred + Citi Double Cash

Combined rewards Average rewards rate Estimated cash back earned (after ongoing annual fee)
  • 6% U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter) with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 6% select U.S. streaming services with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 3% transit & U.S. gas stations with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 2% other purchases with the Citi Double Cash card (1% when you buy, 1% as you pay)
3.19% $412

Combination three: Amex all the way

If you love American Express cards, or you just want to keep things as simple as possible for yourself by sticking to a single issuer – the American Express Cash Magnet® Card* that offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase makes a great partner to the Blue Cash Preferred card.

By swapping in the Cash Magnet card to earn 1.5% cash back on purchases that don’t qualify for a bonus with the Blue Cash Preferred card, the average cardholder can push their cash back rate to 2.91%, amounting to $368 in cash back with $15,900 yearly credit card spend.

Estimated yearly rewards: Blue Cash Preferred + Amex Cash Magnet

Combined rewards Average rewards rate Estimated cash back earned (after ongoing annual fee)
  • 6% U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter) with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 6% select U.S. streaming services with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 3% transit and U.S. gas stations with the Blue Cash Preferred card
  • 1.5% other purchases with the Cash Magnet card
2.91% $368

Other tips for stacking cards

Make it a trio of cards

You can further increase your earning rate by adding in an additional card that offers a bonus on other categories of purchases. For instance, you can earn 3 points per dollar on dining purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Use the right card for each category of spend

Stick to using your Blue Cash Preferred card for U.S. supermarket, select streaming, transit and gas station purchases. The card’s rewards rate on the rest of your purchases is low – only 1% cash back – so try to rotate in a card with a higher rewards rate for the rest of your purchases.

Max out the 6% bonus category

To get the most out of the Blue Cash Preferred card, you need to use up every dollar of spend for the 6% bonus category. The card cuts you off at $6,000 in purchases per year for the 6% bonus rate – that’s only $500 in grocery spend per month, which we think is a pretty manageable amount for the average family. However, if that’s outside your food budget, you might think outside the box and look for other items that you can purchase at the supermarket, which brings us to our next suggestion:

Buy gift cards

If you’re full up on groceries, many supermarkets will allow you to purchase gift cards with your credit card. You can stock up on restaurant, Best Buy or Amazon gift cards with your Blue Cash Preferred card to earn 6% cash back.

Switch to another card once you’ve hit the $6,000 spending cap

Keep close tabs on your supermarket purchases with the Blue Cash Preferred card. Once you hit the $6,000 spending cap, switch over to another credit card for your grocery purchases (such as the Cash Magnet card or the Citi Double Cash card) to earn a better rate than 1% cash back.

Bottom line

With the right credit combination, you can earn hundreds of dollars in rewards on your everyday purchases. While the average cash back card earns a mere 1.5% cash back, you can easily double that amount by pairing the right cards – not a bad incentive for running errands!

*All information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


Discover Your Spark with Jonathan Fields

When you’re humming along at work, nothing significant to complain about…but you just feel like something is missing…that missing thing may just be your spark—the thing that just makes you come truly alive.

Consciously or not, we all strive to feel that spark. And today you’re in luck. I spoke with Jonathan Fields, award-winning author, executive producer, and host of one of the top-ranked podcasts in the world, Good Life Project. He’s also the Founder and CEO of Spark Endeavors and author of the new book Sparked: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work that Makes You Come Alive
He shared with me some of his favorite stories and bits of actionable wisdom to help us all unlock our potential, motivation, impact, and joy.
Listen to the full conversation on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or just click the audio player above.

What does it mean to truly feel “sparked”?

Based on years of research within organizations yielding more than 25 million data points, Fields knows of what he speaks when it comes to feeling sparked.
A spark refers to “what I often call coming alive. And for me, that’s the confluence of 5 different states”:
1. Meaningfulnessdo you feel like your work matters?
2. Floware you able to just get lost in it, losing all sense of time?
3. Engagement—are you excited and energized by what’s capturing your attention?
4. Expressed potentialdo you feel great at what you do, like you’re putting your gifts to work?
5. Purposeare you doing what you’re meant to do?

How can we discover our own spark?

Through his research, Fields identified 10 unique archetypes (and combining the word spark with archetype, he’s landed on Sparketypes) that represent our primary impulses. You may be a maven, maker, scientist, essentialist, performer, sage, warrior, advisor, advocate, or nurturer. 
The assessment will feed you a primary sparketype, a shadow (secondary) sparketype, and an anti-sparketype, the thing that “most readily empties you and requires the greatest recovery.”
I took the free assessment which showed my primary type is Advisor, my secondary is Sage, and my anti is Performer—all of which resonated completely.
You too can take the free assessment to “get some really interesting insights about who [you] are and [what your] strongest impulse is that makes [you] come alive.”

What can we do with the results?

Knowing your Sparketype helps you to look at the work you’re doing and either validate that you’re in the right place doing the right things or may prompt you to do a bit of discovery.
It facilitates “…the process of asking, is [my work] giving me what I want, what I need to feel like I’m flourishing as a human being?”
“We're all in this moment,” Fields shared, “where we have an opportunity to reimagine how we play together. And it starts with the individual and really understanding what is that deeper impulse within me. And then it ripples out into the entire ecosystem that might allow us to bring that forward, to express it and contribute in a meaningful way.”
Some people, upon discovering a mismatch between their Sparketype and their job description, take the “nuclear career option” where they choose to blow it all up and start fresh. It’s an option, but not often the recommended path. Jonathan calls this the “option of last resort.”
Instead, he counsels, try to “reimagine the way that you're doing what you're doing, potentially build more sparked activities around it…” that honor your values. Choosing activities that give you purpose and meaning can often provide the compromise we’re seeking.
“I talk about work…as basically anything that requires us to exert effort in a sustained way. That could be our job, an activity, an endeavor, a hobby, a role, a devotion, and those all fold in to give us the opportunity to feel those things that we want to feel to come alive. 
Start looking outside of the boundaries of the thing that you get paid to do and ask, ‘what else can I do? What else can I say yes to what else can I create that would give me this feeling?’  And very often the blend of an optimized, main job and a compliment of things that you wrap around it, they get you there.”

Can this self-awareness help us manage burnout?

When I asked Fields the burnout question, he said, “A lot of people are pointing to the lack of boundaries between work and life as the central problem now. And I think that's a superficial overlay.”
The deeper issue, he explains, is the misalignment between the descriptions of our jobs, and our interior sense of purpose, of values, and of what lights us up.

How can teams use the assessment for good?

As this is a podcast about workplace success, I had to ask how leaders might utilize the assessment with their teams. And he offered a three-step recommendation:
  1. Leaders themselves should take the assessment to enhance their own sense of self-awareness around what makes them feel most alive and show up most authentically
  2. Leaders should then encourage team members to do the same
  3. Finally, leaders should facilitate an open dialog with the team about everyone’s natural sparketypes—finding spots where joy and purpose may be bumped up.
As we closed, Jonathan called attention to the unique moment we’re in (as we close out 2021).  
“There is universal groundlessness. And everyone [seems to be asking these big questions and making bold decisions. [Someday] that window's going to close. “
In other words, he leaves us with a call to action. Take the assessment, gain some self-awareness, and give yourself the gift of feeling fully alive.