How bad do you want to get out of debt? Paying off debt requires making sacrifices, but it’s all about your comfort level and how far you’re willing to go. Sometimes people dive into extreme ways to pay off debt, but that isn’t always necessary.
When I was deep in my debt payoff journey, I thought about doing drastic things like moving back in with my parents or selling my car to speed up the process.
I always find it interesting to hear how other people got out of debt and respect their choices even if I couldn’t see myself doing it personally. If you’re looking for some motivation or just pure entertainment, check out this list of 7 extreme ways to pay off debt. Maybe you can see yourself doing some of these things, or perhaps not.
1. Moving Into Your Car
Instead of selling their car for extra cash, some people have opted to actually move into their car to pay off debt. When you think about it, this could save you a ton of money. Housing is one of the biggest expenses most Americans have. If you live in a high cost of living area, you could easily save over $1,000 per month by doing this.
To make it work, people have mentioned how they took showers at their gym or utilized free resources like the library to lounge around and take advantage of WiFi.
However, this plan probably wouldn’t work if you have kids or nowhere to park your car. Also, there’s the question of what you’d do with all your stuff.
2. Rent Out Your Home and Move-In With Friends
If you’re not interested in moving into your car, you may consider moving in with family and friends and renting out your home for extra cash. I have a friend in New York who did this and was able to make a ton of money by sub-letting her apartment and couch surfing with friends.
3. Walk or Bike to Work
Do you ever look at how much you spend each year on your car? I know that we spend quite a bit on gas, tolls, maintenance, and insurance for two cars. Sometimes, I wonder how much we’d be able to save if we sacrifice and go down to one car.
This would take some getting used to, but I feel we could make it work. Another thing I’ve seen some people do to pay down debt faster is to walk or ride their bike to work.
This can get hectic if you work miles away and weather conditions aren’t best. However, I once listened to a podcast episode with a teacher who retired early. He talked about how he rode his bike to his job at the time all year round rain or shine. That’s commitment.
4. Dumpster Diving For Food or Supplies
I’ve seen people dumpster dive on shows like Extreme Cheapskates, but this is something that is common in real life as well.
Families and businesses may often throw away nice things. If you’re eager to pay down debt, you could possibly get free food (that’s still in good condition) as well as other household items from dumpster diving.
It can be an icky job, but you may find some gems during the process.
5. Borrow Condiments and Stop Eating Meat
Controlling your food spending can really help you free up more money to pay off debt faster. Some extreme things I’ve seen people do is take condiments from restaurants and stop eating meat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to ask for an extra package of Chick Fil A sauce so I can save it to dress up a future meal I make at home. However, I don’t grab all the coffee creamers at Denny’s or ask for a bag of ketchup packs at the drive-through of a restaurant.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to eat meat. However, if you’re doing it solely to pay down debt faster, that is a little extreme. If you change up your diet, it should be for health reasons and you should always make sure you’re getting enough food.
6. Donate Your Eggs
Women can earn thousands of dollars by donating their eggs. I have a friend who did this and wrote about it on her blog. She mentioned how she earned over $7,000 that went toward ridding herself of credit card debt.
7. Ignoring Holidays and Social Norms
The cost of holidays tends to add up over time. We spend around $1,000 on Christmas each year alone. One thing some people are doing to speed up their debt repayment process is forego spending money on regular holidays and ignoring other social norms.
Realize this may come off as completely rude to people who don’t understand your motives. Imagine showing up to a house warming party without a gift or a wedding without something for the bride and groom. Going full force with this idea could potentially harm some of your relationships or cause you to feel more restricted in terms of your social life. However, you could find a healthy balance for it.
For example, one year my husband and I told our families that we weren’t going to be exchanging gifts with them because we were trying to save up for a down payment on our home. Luckily, everyone was completely fine with this and respected our transparency.
If any of these extreme ways to pay off debt from this list jumped out at you and seemed like something you could try, that’s great. However, realize you don’t have to be extreme when it comes to paying off debt. Get clear on your goals and comfort level.
Know that the more aggressive your goals are, the more you may have to sacrifice and stretch your comfort level. Instead of being extreme, you can always try to find your own level of frugality. Try doing things like getting a cheaper phone plan, eating more meals at home, living in more affordable housing or getting a roommate, and having your spouse cut your hair. Funnel all your extra and freed up money toward debt and you’ll start to see some serious progress.