How to get out of debt—Five ways to do it

Getting into debt is easy enough to do in our world of wanting what we want now. But getting out of debt, that can be a big problem. This article will give you five options on how to get out of debt.

Many of us feel overwhelmed by financial burdens that have put us way in over our heads. That feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t get easier to deal with unless we have a concrete way of dealing with our debt.

5. Bankruptcy

This is not necessarily a great option, but for some people it may be the only way to get out from under a mounting avalanche of debt.

To be honest, I filed bankruptcy about five years after I graduated from college. I was in deep financial distress with credit cards, a car loan, students loans, personal loans and a house loan.

I was making the minimum payments each month, but that was it. I was not gaining any ground, at all. The interest on all of these forms of credit was costing me more each month than I actually made.

After discussing the situation with my parents, we agreed that my best alternative was to file bankruptcy. I went through the process and filed on all the credit cards. I was paying my house payment to a private individual so I didn’t include that. My student loans could not be filed on and I needed to keep my car, so I didn’t file on that.

There were some good things that came out of the bankruptcy.

First of all, I didn’t have that huge pile of credit card debt sitting on me like a 1000 pound weight.

Second, it did free up a little money to keep me solvent so I could keep paying my student loans, house payment and car payment.

Third, I didn’t stay up late at night obsessing about all the money I owed. (I stayed up late doing other things, but at least I wasn’t obsessing about debt!)

There were also several bad things that came out of the bankruptcy.

First, when I wanted to get a different car, I had to have my parents co-sign for me.

Second, after I sold my first house and wanted to get a different one, again, my parents had to co-sign a loan for me.

Third, I felt like a “loser” because I couldn’t pay my bills and had to file bankruptcy.

Fourth, and this is pretty major one, my credit score was in the tank. It was so low, I couldn’t even get certain jobs! Twenty years later, when I applied for a position as a chamber of commerce director, I almost was denied the job because of my still struggling credit score. ( I would be dealing with chamber finances.)

If you feel this is your best option, there are many lawyers who specialize in bankruptcy. Check your phone or phone book under “bankruptcy” and you are sure to find someone in your area who can help.

Remember, though, these lawyers do charge for this service and you have to appear before a judge.

4. Credit counseling

There are many forms of credit counseling available. The big reason I did not use this option when I decided to file bankruptcy was because I had been advised that many people who choose this route to deal with debt end up filing bankruptcy anyway. I figured I was not going to “waste my time” with another step along the way to the inevitable.

I think credit counseling services have changed since I filed bankruptcy about 25 years ago, but if this is an option you would like to explore, here are some things to keep in mind.

According to the Federal Trade Commission article Choosing a Credit Counselor, “A reputable credit counseling agency should send you free information about itself and the services it provides without requiring you to provide any details about your situation. If a firm doesn’t do that, consider it a red flag and go elsewhere for help.”

This article also details many questions to ask when looking for a credit counseling agency, a debt management plan and more. Many of these agencies charge for their services, so make sure this is the route you want to go before you sign anything on the dotted line!

3. Sell some of your assets

“But, I don’t want to sell my stuff!”

If you used credit cards or other loans to get the stuff—or even if you didn’t, you may want to consider returning it or selling it and getting the most from it so that you can lower your debt.

There are many ways to sell your assets.

  • Swap and sells on Facebook or other social media platforms
  • eBay, Amazon, Craig’s List or any number of selling apps that are on the market. Some are obviously better than others so do your homework.
  • Have a garage sale alone.
  • Have a garage sale with a bunch of friends.
  • List your items for sale in an ad in the newspaper.

The options and ways are only limited by your imagination. Every few years my family and I have a huge garage sale just because we need to downsize a little.

2. Employ Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball

American radio show host and businessman Dave Ramsey, who is known for giving excellent and well-received credit and financial advice, created the debt snowball.

What is the debt snowball? It is a basic way to pay down your debt by paying off your lowest debts first and then moving your way through your list.

For example, you might owe $500, $200, $10000, etc on your three debts.

The debt snowball strategy would be to pay the minimum due on each except for the lowest one—the $200. You would pay as much as you could off on that one. Once it is paid, you would move to the $500 debt and do the same thing.

Employing this technique has helped many people find a way to pay off their debt much quicker. Check out the link for more information and a free, three-day e-mail series to get you started.

1. Earn more money

This is my number one recommended way to get out of debt! It is the main way I have been getting and keeping myself out of debt for a while now.

Many of us are not able to work more than we possibly are right now. At my job, which I love, I am limited in the number of hours I can work. I could get another job, but because of the many different times that I work (I am a journalist for a small town newspaper and we cover everything no matter what time of day it is at!), that is not feasible.

I wanted to see if I could find a way to create a business that I could do from home on the Internet in my “free” time.

I found a lot of “duds” that promised to make me money while I slept, but none of them produced any more than a deficit in my checking account.

Then I learned about Wealthy Affiliate. You can read my review on them by clicking here.

I am making extra money through writing websites, which I really enjoy doing. I get to help people which I also really enjoy doing!

If you want to learn more about Wealthy Affiliate, you can read my review at the link above or click the banner below. You will be glad you did!


Thank you for visiting my site. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please leave questions or comments below and I will get back to you very soon!

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G.G. and JazAbout the author

Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has seven grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping others who may be struggling with debt and need creative ways to get out of debt or to make more money. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: karin@inoveryourheads.com.

8 Comments

  1. Karin, I could relate to your article intensely. Ten years ago I lost all my savings in the Great Recession and had to devlare bankruptcy. Since I was subscribing to a legal service, I was able to get a huge discount. Your final suggestion of increasing ones earnings to pay off ones debt faster is a sound one. I would have combined that with debt renegotiation. There are reputable companies who will do this for about a 20% fee of your overall debt. You stop paying all your debts. Once they contact the companies, all interest charges cease. Then they renegotiate the debt to reduce the amount owed by at least 50%. One creates an escrow account where you deposit a fixed amount each month that you can afford. As this builds up they are able to renegotiate. 

    Now when you earn extra income, you can deposit into that escrow account that enables the debt renegotiation company to clear the debts faster at that much reduced amount. I am going through this procedure right now and will be using my Wealthy Affiliate earnings to help pay down that debt faster. I like this idea of yours. I feel you will help a lot of individuals who are stuck. Sorry I went into so much detail about my situation, but I felt that supported your point very well.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Edwin. I think debt is one area that most of us can understand because it is such a common thread in so many of our societies. You gave me a good idea for another post. Thanks! I will explore that one more and see where it leads me.

      Thank you again for visiting my site and for commenting!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 😁

  2. “You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander out of it” Quote, Dave Ramsey. I also went through chapter 13 a couple of years ago. My assets prevented me from filing chapter 7. Bankruptcy is the last resort if all the other great advice you gave fails to get your debt under control. 

    We live in an age that self-gratification comes first. Trying to follow the masses with a new car, too much house, or thinking the 3% you gain on every purchase on your credit card is being financially wise. This is insane.

    I salute you on the great advice you recommend on getting debt under control and the suggestion of creating more income via the Internet is a fabulous start.

    • Hi Kenneth. Thank you for visiting my site. I totally agree with you on bankruptcy. Looking back, it was the best decision for me at the time, but  it really did mess up my credit for a long time! I still have regrets about not paying for those credit cards because I did enjoy the things I purchased with them. 

      I hope that people will begin to see how to not only get out of debt, but stay out of debt to start with! 

      Using the Internet to make money has been a great thing for me! I am hoping that others will be able to realize the benefits that I have seen, as well. It’s not without effort, let me assure you! 🙂

      Best wishes,
      Karin 😁

  3. Great article though I have always been disciplined in paying debts I did find myself in some not so deep waters luckily because of being consistent my bank did help me and I have come out of all my debt and also put some money for a rainy day which I learnt.

    What happens when you file bankruptcy on your cards can you ask for another card? 

    I live in Italy not that I need to file for bankruptcy but just to be well informed and to take steps to avoid that since I have to work hard as a single mother.

    Thank you for providing an option for earning extra money with Wealthy Affiliate.  Will definitely check it out.

    • Thank you for visiting our site, Cinderella! I appreciate your comments and commend you for your ability to keep current with your debts. That is something that a lot of people are not able to do. We tend to get in over our heads and have to seek help to get ourselves out again.

      After I filed bankruptcy, I did not get a credit card for nearly 20 years. I knew I couldn’t “trust” myself to handle the credit at that time. Credit card companies are always sending out credit card offers. Often, after someone files bankruptcy, they can find themselves in financial trouble again, because they accept and then use all these new credit cards they get!

      I certainly don’t recommend filing bankruptcy, but if it is the best and last option for someone, then I would tell someone to check again to make sure they have no other options! It really can be damaging to your credit for a long time and effect a person’s ability to get certain jobs and it blows your credit away.

      I am glad you enjoyed hearing about the option for making money online through Wealthy Affiliate. It truly has been a great find!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 😁

  4. After reading your article I have benefited greatly.You disscuss in your article about How to get out of debt—Five ways to do it. You also said Bankruptcy, Credit counseling, Sell some of your assets, Employ Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball,Earn more money. I think your article is an informative article. After reading your article i have learned in this topics clearly. So, Thank you very much for sharing your guideline article.  

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