Want To Kill Your Debt? Big Changes Lead To Massive Pay Offs

Are you ready to pay off your debt but have no clue where to start? Read the first post in my series about paying off your debt, then read through this series until you get to this post, our eleventh in the series.

I bet you’re excited that you’ve been able to make a plan of which loan to pay off first.

It’s even more exciting when you start to see the progress you’ve made from changing your mindset and making some small changes in  your financial life.

I have some even better news, though.

Now it’s time to start making some big changes that can completely transform your debt pay off plan and speed up the process immensely.

Big Changes Will Have The Largest Impact On Your Plan

Small changes are a great way to start shifting your mindset. Those changes will get you excited as momentum grows in your debt pay off journey.

Unfortunately, there are only so many small changes you can make before you run out of ways to save a few bucks here and there. That’s when it’s time to bring in the big changes.

Many people resist these big changes, but the magnitude of how they can change your debt pay off plan can be huge. Don’t immediately dismiss these ideas as crazy.

Many people have made these changes and have made amazing progress because they were open minded enough to embrace big change.

Sell Your New Fancy Car

Chances are you have a newer, fancy car. You probably have a car loan to go with it. Yuck, that’s more debt you have to pay off. Want to know a quick way to get rid of that debt and get further ahead in your debt pay off journey?

Sell the car and pay off the loan. Am I insane? Not at all. A car is for transportation. It should not be a status symbol. Yes, you may need a reliable car to get to work and run errands around town. I totally agree with you.

However, you can easily find a car that will meet those needs for $5,000 to $10,000, rather than the $30,000+ that some of the fancier cars and SUVs cost today.

What about all the money you’ll lose by selling your brand new car? It’s a fact of life, but it is a sunk cost. Sunk costs are decisions you made in the past that you can’t change. You can’t make decisions based sunk costs.

You’ll never get that money back whether you sell the car today or 3 years from now. It’s gone. The only difference is you’ll lose even more money as the car gets older.

With $5,000 to $10,000 cars, you won’t lose anywhere near as much money to depreciation each year. Just think how nice it’d be to have a much smaller car loan, or even no car loan at all.

Is all of that extra debt worth your fancy ride? You might even save money on your car insurance due to the lower value of your new to you $5,000 to $10,000 car.

Downsize Your House

Housing is normally the largest category in any budget. If that’s the case in your budget, then it’s also the largest opportunity to make a dent in your debt pay off.

Americans have grown accustomed to huge homes with a ton of rooms that they rarely use for anything other than storage or allowing someone to sleep at your house once a year. Why pay for all of that extra space you never use?

Just like with your car, you can downsize your home, too. Whether you simply move to a smaller, cheaper home when your lease runs out or you decide to sell your home to move to a more appropriate dwelling, this is possibly one of the biggest wins you can ever score.

Whatever you do, make sure that you think this through for a long time. If you just end up upgrading again shortly after you downsize, you’ll have wasted a ton of money moving and in real estate fees if you owned your homes.

Move To A Different Area

Want to save even more money on housing and potentially everything else in your budget? Consider moving from a high cost of living area to a low cost of living area. Where you live has a huge effect on how much money you spend every month.

I personally moved from the rat race driven metro area of Washington, DC to the Florida panhandle. It is one of the best decisions I ever made.

I was lucky enough to keep a similar salary and almost all of my living expenses cost less in Florida. Plus, there’s no income tax. It was a huge win for us and it saved us thousands of dollars.

Get A Job That Pays You What You Deserve

Your income from your job is one of the biggest limiting factors in your debt pay off plan.

Due to the massive constraint income places on your plan, you should look to optimize your income as much as possible. If you’re being underpaid for your skill level, now is the time to see what you can do to raise your income.

You can ask for a raise if you’ve shown you deserve one. If that doesn’t work, you can always look for a new job that pays you in line with your skills and abilities.

Just be careful not to burn any bridges in the process. Your current income is a lot more than you’d get if you pressed the wrong button and got yourself fired.

Big Changes Aren’t Easy

I’m not suggesting that any of the above changes are easy. They aren’t. They shouldn’t be. Just keep an open mind and seriously consider them.

These actions can save or earn you thousands of dollars a year that you can use toward your debt pay off plan. Once your debt is gone, it can kick start your savings and retirement, too.

Don’t simply dismiss these ideas without giving them serious thought. The biggest changes offer the biggest rewards.

Once you’ve mastered this step, there’s just one more step to go. That step takes place after you paid off your debt. Read about it here.

Did you make any huge changes in your life in order to pay off your debt faster? We certainly did and it helped us pay our debt off faster than we could have ever imagined. Let us know what big changes you made in the comments below.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. What I would tell people who are just now starting a debt payoff plan is that it will get easier as you pick up momentum. As you start to zero out balances, you will find yourself with fewer and fewer payments to make each month and more and more money that you can apply to paying down debt.

  2. The big changes we made were to go on a budget and just stop spending so much. Instead of buying cheaper cars, we just paid ours off instead. We didn’t sell our house because it was pretty affordable to begin with.

  3. I’ve been toying with the idea of selling my car for a cheaper one. It makes sense considering I’m currently focussing on paying it off and it’s my biggest loan. But… I’m finding making this step quite hard. I’m quite attached to the darn thing.

  4. I don’t mean to be anti-social but buying a house with extra bedrooms because someone might come to visit is just silly. That’s what hotels are for and if someone chooses not to visit because you can’t provide lodging for them, I’d reconsider the relationship.

  5. I love all of these ideas, but I cannot move out of Chicago. It’s expensive (though not as bad as many think!), but it is well worth it!

  6. Although many would object to this strategy, we sold some of our investments to pay off debt…specifically our mortgage. We felt convicted that ridding ourselves of that debt was more important at the time than the investments we were holding. Now that it’s gone, we are full force back into investing and building wealth.

    • As long as you can sleep better at night and you’re still on track for your financial goals, you can do whatever you want. I have a feeling you had both covered with that move 🙂

  7. I agree. Eliminating those big expenses can be really hard, but if one can do it, he or she will surely save more money in the future.

  8. Yup. I definitely agree. You really have to do something bold at the beginning so that you get into the mindset that you’re going on a big journey to pay off debt. Seeing the big change will also motivate you to keep going.

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