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Four Ways To Get Out of Debt Before Christmas

By Erik Folgate

For some of you, this will not be attainable, but many of you have a few thousand dollars of debt lingering out in the abyss of debt that won’t go away. If you have less than $10,000 in debt, then I believe you can be debt free before you start drinking egg nog and listening to stories from your parents that you’ve heard every year since you can remember Christmas. So here are my four ways to getting out of debt before January 1st, 2008.

Start Selling Stuff, Lots of Stuff!

This is a no brainer, but we are so attached to our stuff. First, clear out all of the personal items that you never use by having a garage sale. Sell all of the junk that really doesn’t have much value at a garage sale just to get it out of your life. You’re not looking to make big time money at this thing, just simplify your life. Then, set aside the items that have some decent value, but may be hard to ship if you were to sell them on eBay. Sell these items on Craigslist.org. Did you know that it is FREE to list stuff for sale on Craigslist? And they give you up to four photos to post in your listing. Craigslist is an online classifieds with virtually every decent size city as part of its network. Finally, save your really nice stuff that you are willing to part with for selling on eBay. You’ll get the most bang for your buck on eBay, but make sure you know what you’re doing. If not, have a friend help you sell it. Don’t bother taking it to one of those consignment eBay franchise places. They will take up to 35 – 50% of the sale price as a commission! Got a car to sell? I’d list it with Autotrader and Craigslist. Selling cars is a little risky on eBay, and it takes a lot of time to make a good listing.

Get a Second Job

Yeah, I went there. I always get a little pain in my chest when I think about the dreaded second job. If you’re single, then chances are that you have A LOT of spare time. What do you find yourself doing when you get home after work? If you spend a lot of time on the couch or on the computer, you could be using that time making some extra cash. Pizza delivery, waiting tables, valet parking, and anything with cash tips is an excellent way to make extra cash. The $6 dollar an hour job might not be worth your time, but find a job that pays out tips, and you’ll be making an extra $250 – $400 a week working 3 or 4 nights a week.

Start a Part-Time Business

All you need are some business cards and sweat to make a decent part-time income from a part-time business. Here are 25 ideas from Entrepreneur.com to help get your creative juices flowing. Pick something that coincides with one of your hobbies or interest. That way, you’ll have more fun doing it, and the business will prosper when the customers see that you enjoy what you are doing.

Participate In Research Studies

I know, it sounds crazy. But, I have participated in three research studies in the past and made over $2,000 doing it. I’m still here, healthier than ever, and I’m not growing a third arm…yet. If you have a research university in your area, check out their clinical research study department for upcoming studies. Obviously, educate yourself about any study before you participate in it. Some of the studies are so obscure that you won’t even feel like you’re doing anything out of the ordinary.

Of course, none of these ideas to make extra income will help you become debt free before Christmas if you don’t put all of that extra income toward the debt. Be diligent in putting all of the extra money you make this summer and fall towards paying off your debt. If depositing it into your checking account will be too tempting to spend, then set up a separate account and only deposit extra income into that account. Pay down debts by writing checks only out of that account. Also, these ideas will never help you get out of debt without getting or staying to a strict budget. Spend all of your money on paper before each month. Make the money have a purpose. Assign each dollar to category, and you will see how much more money you thought you never had!

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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