Strategy: Put spare change to work.
Advice: Cut back, use cash.
NEXT: Brian Leigh
I was laid off for 18 months and had two credit cards to pay off, so I had to learn to be creative. My husband and I have been trying out a cash-only spending system and we're only allowed to spend $40 a week per person on non-necessities. That means once the cash is gone, it's gone -- no more spending.
While doing this strict new budget, we noticed we had a lot of loose change everywhere -- in our cars, leftover from doing laundry -- so we started collecting all the change we could find and putting it in a jar by the door. Every month, we would use whatever money is in the jar to make payments on one of the credit cards. The minimum payment is only $39, but we usually paid an extra $50 or $60 using the coins we collected so that we can get it totally paid off as soon as possible.
Since we started collecting the coins about six months ago, we've already paid more than $560 of the $1,000 balance on the card, so this is really working for us.