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Earlier this year, we brought you the first seven of twelve steps toward living a debt-free life.

The first step was to take stock of your debt by writing down exactly how much you owe to whom, plus information on payment amounts and interest rates. Put that information into a spreadsheet.

The second step was to assess your spending, and work hard on not incurring any more debt than you already have.

The third step was to call your credit card and loan companies and see if you could get your interest rates lowered!

The fourth step was to create an emergency fund so that unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical bills don't completely derail your finances.

The fifth step was organizing your finances by really keeping track of every expense during the course of the month — from that morning latte to utility bills. It’s critical that you know where your money is going so you can get more control over it.

The sixth step was trimming your expenses by taking a look at the money you spend and figure out what you can cut — from subscriptions to take-out dinners. Put that money toward paying down your debt, instead.

The seventh step was to start paying down more debt using the "snowball" method.

Now, it's time for step eight!

One way to get out of debt faster is to make more money — and direct that extra income toward paying down debt.

There are a handful of practical ways to accomplish this. Here are a few of them:

Consider asking for a raise or promotion at your current workplace or seeking employment elsewhere if you feel you’ve reached your maximum earning potential at the company. In these pandemic times, you'll definitely want to remind yourself (and your boss) what you've accomplished, how you've saved the company money or boosted its earnings, and why you're a valuable asset. Did you take on any extra projects or leadership positions since your last raise? Be sure to mention those!

You can also freelance. Use your expertise to do some consulting on the side, write articles for pay, or take on a seasonal or weekend job for a little while. You might also consider offering to do things like babysitting or running errands for people, pet sitting or house sitting, or other things outside of your normal work schedule.

What about a side gig? If you are creative or enjoy doing crafts, you may be able to turn a hobby into a source of income, too, particularly as we head into the holiday season. If you are a great photographer, for example, start offering to take new professional headshots or family portraits in your community. Are you a good musician? Start offering to teach music classes to children on the weekends.

If you freelance or take on a second job, remember that you'll need to pay taxes on those extra earnings, so be sure to set aside some of the money for that expense next spring.

Stay tuned for next month's step on getting yourself out of debt and onto the road to wealth!

Have questions? Did you know that our certified financial counselors are available to meet with you at no cost? We're dedicated to your financial well-being and want you to succeed. Setting up a meeting is easy - just visit our website, request a free consultation, and we'll be in touch soon!

If you would prefer to learn at your own pace, we have a resource for that too! Visit Banzai, our online adult and youth financial literacy program, to learn more about methods to pay off debt and other financial topics.

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