How to Make Extra Money to Pay Off Debt

Young man at home, paying bills online

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If you are serious about getting out of debt, you may be scrambling to come up with extra money to put toward your debt. Sometimes it will take more than just cutting back on your spending to get control of your debt. It can be difficult to find the extra money if you do not have a high income, but you can still take these steps to make extra money to pay off debt.

Stuff to Sell to Pay Off Debt

If you have several big-ticket items, you may want to check out Craigslist or another place where you can list your items online. If you have specialty items, a bidding site like eBay is a great choice to sell your stuff. If you have a bunch of miscellaneous items, you may want to hold a yard sale or two to raise money for your items. You can take your clothing to a consignment shop. You can also take old games, books, and sports equipment to second-hand stores to sell the items. As you gather your items together, you may be surprised at how much you can pay back quickly. You may even consider ​selling your car or other expensive items to pay off debt.​


You can also make extra money from your iPhone rather than an online site. There are many apps out there that can help you make a little extra cash, whether it's through investing or selling homemade goods.

Cut Back Your Budget Even More

If you have cable or a gym membership, you may be able to cut back even more in your budget. If you are serious about getting out of debt, these changes do not need to be permanent. You can make the changes and then join the gym again after you are debt-free.

If you haven’t scaled back on your television package yet, you may consider doing that. There is no reason to have a landline and a cell phone ​bill if you do then you should likely cut the landline altogether, either.

Shop around for new car insurance rates, too. You can often qualify for much lower rates once you turn 25, but your insurance company will not automatically give you the rate.

Take on a Second Job

No one wants to work two jobs for any length of time, but if you have a serious budget shortfall or if you really want to get out of debt, then this may be a good short-term solution to your problem. If you are going to take a second job, make sure it is worth the time. It may not make sense to get a job at your nearest fast food joint if you have the skills and ability to work at a higher-paying job. You may also be able to work as a freelancer, or put in overtime at your current position. Another option is to work a job that offers tips because you can earn much higher than minimum wage if you work the correct shifts.


You may also want to consider side hustle options that will pay quickly. A side hustle could be anything from freelance writing and editing to making something and selling it on Etsy.

Bonuses, Gifts, and Extra Money

If you are getting out of debt, you should use your bonuses and any other extra money you receive and put it towards your debt. This earmarking of extra funds will help speed up the process of getting out of debt and allow you to return to a more relaxed budget much sooner. If you do not get bonuses through your job, you can still do the same with monetary gifts or a sudden windfall.

Cash Out Investments, But Not Your Retirement

One thing you should always avoid is cashing out your retirement to get out of debt. If you have separate investments, you may want to cash them out to pay off your credit cards and other debts. You may pay penalties and taxes if you cash out your retirement savings early, plus you will be hurting your future. It is best to leave that alone. But if you have stock options through your job or if you have inherited stock, you may want to cash it out to become debt-free much sooner.


Cashing out your investments is usually a step you take after you've put a strict budget in place and have committed to staying debt-free.

Seek Help From a Credit Counselor

If all else fails, consider working with an expert, such as a credit counselor. Credit counseling services are nonprofit organizations with certified counselors who can help you with consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. They'll help you create a personalized plan to pay off your debt.

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