This post is sponsored by Spruce. All opinions are 100% my own.
If you currently have debt, you know firsthand that paying off debt isn’t always easy. It requires focus, determination, and the ability to prioritize your future over the present moment. Which, let’s face it, isn’t always obvious or fun.
My husband and I have paid off more than $111,000 in debt on two teacher salaries. During our four-year journey, we’ve learned different tricks to help us pay off debt faster and stay motivated along the way. These financial tricks made a huge difference years ago and we still use them to achieve our financial goals to this day.
In this article, I will share with you 4 financial tricks that will help you pay off your debts and how Fir tree It can help you feel more confident and organized with your money.
Money Hack #1: Set up sinking funds.
Paying off debt can be an emotional experience and can feel like a rollercoaster at times. It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re surprised by unexpected expenses. Sometimes these sudden expenses can lead to more debt.
To keep you moving forward on your debt-free journey, it’s important to set up money to cover any unexpected costs that may arise along the way. By adding money to your budget each month, you make saving money a habit in your life. This basic habit can keep you from relying on debt or credit cards while you work to get out of debt.
For example, while our family was working to pay off debt, we created a car maintenance mutual fund. This sinking fund was essentially a separate savings account where we would set money aside each month. Whenever our car needs new tires or an oil change, we are able to use the Vehicle Maintenance Fund to help cover the cost of the expense. This has kept us from putting any extra money on our credit card or getting into more debt on our debt-free journey.
It’s important to have an account that makes saving money for spending money simple and straightforward. Fir tree It does just this! With Spruce, you can automatically save money for emergencies in a savings account plus up to two additional savings or spending goals. I personally love that Spruce has a chart to help you figure out how much money you need to set aside each month to make your goal a reality. Click here to learn more about how Spruce makes it easy to save money.
Money Hack #2: Send Extra Money to Debt Instantly.
I don’t know about you, but if I had any extra money in my checking account, I could always Find a reason to spend it. As my husband and I paid off debt, we learned that if we sent money toward the debt right away, we were more likely to make progress on our debt-free journey.
Here’s exactly how to send extra money to debt instantly:
- Write a budget for your pay period. Includes any invoices and variable expenses.
- Include a reserve amount in your budget to help cover any miscellaneous spending that may occur during the pay period.
- Immediately send any remaining funds directly to the debt you are focused on at that time. This allows you to pay off debt quickly and stay on track with your budget.
My husband and I focused on putting extra money toward the debt right away because we knew that if we left extra money in our checking account, the chances of spending the money impulsively would be high.
This simple financial hack, paying off debt immediately, makes a lasting difference in our debt-free journey.
Money Hack #3: Cut unnecessary monthly fees.
When our family first started budgeting and paying off debt, we realized we’d been paying for six months for a gym membership that we weren’t even using! At $60 a month, these unnecessary monthly fees add up quickly!
This realization forced us to take a long look at our monthly expenses. We immediately eliminated any monthly fees that we found unnecessary in our lives.
Learn from our mistakes and take some time to eliminate any monthly fees that aren’t serving you.
One of the unnecessary monthly fees you may pay includes hidden account fees that accumulate over time. These can include monthly fees, registration fees, or even minimum balance fees. Switching to an account that has no monthly fees is the perfect example of a money-saving hack that you’ll do once but reap the rewards month after month.
When it comes to monthly fees, Fir tree transparent. They have no monthly fees or registration fees2which means you can focus on sending your money to what really matters: your financial goals.
Money Hack #4: Include spending money in your budget.
Years ago, my husband and I decided that our financial focus would be on paying off debt as quickly as possible. Before we knew it, we had cut every extra expense in our budget… including spending money.
Matt and I quickly learned that this was it awesome an idea. Within a couple of months, I was extremely upset and frustrated with our budget. Before I knew it, I was walking into my favorite store and filling my shopping cart to the brim with anything that brought me joy.
My little shopping trip was the result of living on a completely limited budget unrealistic. We learned that day that if we wanted to work on paying off debt over the long term, we would have to include spending money in our budget.
Including spending money in your budget while paying off debt may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not! When you put money aside to spend on what you want, you set limits on your money. This allows you to spend money guilt-free while still working toward your financial goals.
Ultimately, making room in your budget for spending takes your original budget and turns it into a budget TRUE budget. The more realistic your budget is, the more likely you are to actually stick to it. Creating a budget you can stick to directly impacts your debt repayment goals and can help you pay off debt faster.
Spruce can help you become financially confident.
When I started paying off debt many years ago, I realized that I lacked the confidence I needed to see that I could turn my debt-free dream into a reality. It has taken me some time to become more confident with my money. This confidence comes from understanding my money inside and out. It came from organizing my money when I didn’t have any before.
One reason I love it Fir tree is that its goal is to provide tools that can help you be more organized and confident when it comes to your money. This can have a direct impact on your debt-free journey.
Here are 3 ways Spruce makes managing your money easier:
- Spruce offers savings goals that allow you to be specific and intentional when it comes to saving money. You also have the option to set up automatic transfers from your spending account to your savings goals which helps build better financial habits.
- Spruce offers automatic cash back1 At select retailers. With Spruce, you’ll earn cash rewards when you shop at select retailers you know and love. This money is automatically deposited into your Spruce Plus Savings Account!
- Get paid sooner! When you set up direct deposit with Spruce, you can get your money up to two days early3. You work hard for your money, so why not get it as soon as possible?
When it comes to understanding your money and finances, Spruce is on your side. Click here to learn more about spruce.
Paying off debt: The bottom line
The more aware we are of our habits and money, the easier it will be to pay off debt and create a strong financial foundation. All it takes is to understand your money better, focus on your goals, and sign up for Spruce, which helps you get better with money.
Spruce is a great option for anyone who wants to pay off their debt, earn cash back, and save money. Click here to try Spruce!
Spruce is a fintech platform created by H&R Block, which is not a bank. Banking products offered by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Spruce℠ spending and savings accounts are established at MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC, are issued the Spruce Debit Card, and are subject to authorization by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard® and the circuit design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.
1Spruce Rewards is powered by Dosh. Cash back offers and amounts may vary by user, merchant location, and offer period. Check the Spruce app for offer availability. Cash Back earned through qualifying purchases will be deposited into your Spruce Savings Account. See Spruce Rewards powered by Dosh terms for details.
2Other fees apply to certain uses of your Spruce debit card and accounts. See www.SpruceMoney.com/fees for details.
3Early access to funds depends on when the payer submits payment. These funds are generally made available to you on the day the payment instruction is received, which may be two days before the payer’s scheduled payment date. To be eligible, you must receive direct deposits of $200 over the relevant 35-day period, not including tax refunds.