Fight Back and Win the Debt War

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Money Soldier.  You win small battles, like paying down a single credit card, but you never seem to win the war.  Every time you turn around there’s another expense – a hospital bill, new tire or friend’s wedding – ready to take all that ground you’ve gained and then some.

If you feel like Napoleon in Russia, trying to cross the frozen North of your credit card and student loan debt without sacrificing your entire army in the process, here are some suggestions to help you gird up your loins and fight.  Unlike Napoleon, you’re going to win this war.

Join the Turks and Max Out Your Income

If your army of money is small, you’re going to need some new recruits.  Sometimes this means a second job at a coffee shop or call center.  However, if you’re already working plenty of hours at your current job, you need a different kind of income-maximizing strategy.

First, sign up for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.  This website allows users to complete small Human Intelligence Tasks, or HITs.  These HITs offer tasks that only a human can do – like answering surveys, identifying items in pictures and translating documents – for small amounts of money.  Sometimes very small amounts of money.

Debt Consolidated - Amazon Mechanical Turk

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Obi-Juan Kenobi VS The Taco King! by SuziQ33, on Flickr.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

However, you’ve got a friend: the Reddit site, HITs Worth Turking For.  Redditors scour the Mechanical Turk listings and post any HIT that pays more than $0.10 per minute.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly and you’re able to make an extra $100-200 every week if you spend a few nights filling out surveys while you watch TV.

Then send that money straight towards your debt.  Napoleon fought the Turks and lost; you’re going to join them and win.

Start a Snowball Fight

If your ordinary ammunition – like monthly payments – isn’t good enough anymore, it’s time to change your tactics.  Stop fighting and start throwing snowballs.

Yes, this is the ever-popular Snowball Method, first brought to consumer consciousness by financial genius, Dave Ramsey.  The snowball method works like this: you pay the minimum balance on all debts except one, which you pay off as fast as possible.  Then you take the funds you were paying on that debt and start paying down your next debt.  As you pay off debts, you have more funds available to use against other debts, the way a snowball grows when you roll it down a hill.

There’s some question about whether it’s better to pay off your smallest debt or your largest debt first.  You can mess around with the math if you like, but the truth is that as long as you’re paying off any debt, you’re doing well.

Napoleon never thought to start a snowball fight, but if he had, it might have changed the course of his battles.  Start your snowball fight today and see how quickly you can get your debt snowball to grow.

Call up the Cavalry and Settle the Matter

Sometimes you can’t snowball your debts because you don’t even have enough money to make the minimum payments.  If you’re in this situation, you need to call in the cavalry – in this case, Cavalry Portfolio Services – and work with them to create a debt consolidation and payment program.  These types of debt services are able to reduce your total debts and create a series of affordable monthly payments.

Pay attention to the fine print – sometimes your lower payments mean a longer loan period, or a larger amount of interest paid on the loan.  However, if you are unable to afford the minimum payments on your debts, consolidating them helps you stay current, continue to make progress and avoid nonpayment charges.

These are only a few suggestions to help you fight the Debt War.  Any other Money Soldiers out there feel like they’re struggling through the tundra?  Let us know how you’re doing in the comments.  Don’t forget to leave your own ideas for new battle techniques and successful combat strategies.


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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