Debt is a stressful topic for anyone, but having been single with a mortgage and student loans, I think debt is a little harder on the single ladies. Not actually harder, just harder emotionally. You already have a lot on your plate, you’re just one woman, it can feel like a long road to get to your money goals. But single women are the mistresses of their own destinies: you can pick your debt strategy and financial goals without saying boo to anyone. You can make any changes you need without pitching a battle royale. And you can focus on you. A debt journey can be a lonesome road, but your wingwoman is here to help you break it down.
Are You a Snowball or an Avalanche Woman?
When it comes to paying off your outstanding bills, there are two main strategies that financial experts recommend. Both are equally effective, and which one you choose really just depends on what you think will make you feel more motivated to stick with it. Both strategies answer the question: which account gets the money above your minimum payment?
The Snowball DEBT Method
Using this method, you would list your debts in order from smallest to largest and start with the smallest debt. Then the next smallest, and so on. Personally, I love the small feeling of success that comes from crossing an item off of my to-do list. If you’re like me, the snowball method may be for you. By starting with the smallest debt, you can quickly feel like you’re making progress in improving your life. This is the best method if your debt all has the same/similar interest rate. The downside? Your smallest balance may not be your highest interest rate, and paying that interest rate hurts.
The Avalanche DEBT Method
The avalanche method has you organize your debts by interest rate, and pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Some women are optimizers. They want to pay as little interest as possible, and won’t feel discouraged if it takes longer to see the pay off on a larger balance. If that sounds like you, try the avalanche method. This is also good if you enjoy sticking it to the financial system. “Tricked me once, but you’re not getting a dime more in interest than I need to give you!”
There is another way: peanut butter. Spread any extra money around and rejoice in everything getting nibbled away at. This never worked for me. It lacks the moral victory over banks of the avalanche method, and the sweet victories of the snowball.
Increase Your Income
Many single women say that their biggest financial challenge is not earning enough, and I want to honor that. I have worked second jobs because I didn’t make enough to live on 9-5. It’s physically exhausting, but if you’re trying to pay off debt any financial boost will help a lot. It will take some juggling, but especially right now, many many many people do it.
There are lots of different kinds of side hustles, and some of them are very lucrative! Clever Girl Finance has a great guide. Not a paid link – we just like them!
If your schedule is already packed, you could sell things you no longer need on eBay, or rent out a spare room in your home. Women with more time on their hands could do online work, teach English online (you don’t need a teaching license), join UpWork, or join a gig company which can be done from your home.
One tax bonus: if your side hustle has associated costs, they may be deductible expenses. Commuting between jobs, or mileage on your car while your driving lift are deductible. Do a little research!
How *NOT* to Pay Down Debt
You want to get out from under your debt as soon as possible; that’s great! However, there are a few debt payment techniques that may seem beneficial that are actually dangerous to your financial well-being. Here are some things you should run away from:
Don’t borrow from your future! 401k loans are notorious for fees and taxes upon your withdrawal. This is an “only in an emergency” situation.
Home Equity Line of Credit
If you borrow money against your home, but can’t pay it back on time you could lose your home.
Debt Settlement Companies
For a fee, these companies claim to contact your creditors and reduce what you owe, but they rarely follow through with this promise. You can negotiate on your own behalf.
As a single woman, you have a lot on your plate, but you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by debt. It is possible to get your finances back on track, and even save for an emergency fund. The most important step is to choose a repayment method that you think you can stick to, and later if you add in supplementary sources of income, you will crush your goals even faster!
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