Use Extreme Measures to Eliminate Your Debt or Increase Savings

by RC on February 21, 2008

Sometimes, on the road to becoming debt free, or increasing your wealth, you hit a “wall”. Maybe you work late a few nights in a row, so you get too tired to plan out your meals and cook and end up eating out. Or you forget to pay bills and incur late fees, or have an unexpected expense which wipes out most of your savings. Or maybe you don’t see the growth in your savings or investing that you would like to see. You lose faith and are soon getting back to your old ways and habits.

How do you get back on track?

One way which has been useful to me, is to do something extreme. You have to take “extreme measures” to give yourself a boost and stop yourself falling back into bad habits.

Burn Bridges:
Eliminate your escape routes. Do something that limits your options.
Pay all of your bills as soon as you receive them, and put the rest towards debt reduction.  For example, say you are 10 days from payday, you have $1000 in your checking account, and you estimate you will need $500 for bills and food for the next 10 days. Well, take $499 and put it towards your credit card debt now, so you have you are left with $501 with $500 in expenses over the next 10 days. You have no choice but to live within your means with only a $1.00 cushion.

Do Something Extreme:
Don’t just drop your cable subscription, or Netflix. That may not be extreme enough. Drop your cable subscription and sell your television! (Now obviously, if you are married and have children, etc., you need to make sure they are on board!) Now, the TV is just an example, it could be anything, but you get the idea.

Pull an All-Nighter:
If you are falling behind on your bills, stay up late one night and take care of them. Or write out a plan for your debt reduction, step by step.

Sell one of your “prized” possessions:
This could be a collection, an autographed football, your motorcycle you only ride on weekends, or maybe just “stuff” you have laying around the house. Sell them to generate additional cash to assist you getting back on track.

Challenge Yourself with Spending:
Set an extremely low amount (whatever that may be for you), say $30 if you are single (whatever is a low amount for you), take it to the grocery store, and buy all of your grocery items for every carefully planned meal for a week with that money.

Challenge yourself to earn additional income or generate additional cash, such as $500 over the next 30 days.

One good thing about this strategy is that it forces you to come to terms with how badly you want to reach your goal. If you are willing to take extreme measures to reach your goals as quickly as possible, then your goals are obtainable. If you decide the sacrifices are too great to reach, you may need to rethink your goals and how quickly you want to achieve them.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

DivaJean February 26, 2008 at 9:37 am

Sell one of your “prized” possessions- this is something we like to do as routine. We have a very small home (4 kids 2 adults in 1200 square feet) and possessions need to be in active mode- no collections or clutter!

I am starting off a Disney trip fund- with all of our castoffs sold thru an eBay seller. I have no time to do it myself but know that I could generate more thru this than any one day garage sale.


RC February 27, 2008 at 5:35 am

I know exactly what you mean, my house is not very big either, (w/ 2 adults and 2 kids). I am due for big “spring cleaning” right now myself!


Joy of Frugal Living February 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Great article! I linked to you on my blog, adding my own thoughts about one of your strategies:



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