How to Pay Off Debt and Bills Quickly in Canada By Julie JaggernathHave you hit a brick wall trying to find the best or fast way\u00a0how to pay off debt quickly? Rather than getting more and more frustrated, take bold steps that will get you moving towards your goal again. It\u2019s like riding a bike \u2013 to keep your balance, just peddle forwards. But while we go for bike rides with friends or family, we don\u2019t typically ask them to join us as we figure out\u00a0how to budget and pay off debt. That\u2019s where taking bold steps comes in; curious what that might mean? It\u2019s much easier to stay motivated when you\u2019re in it with other people. Take the bold step of asking a few friends if they\u2019d commit to paying down debt and bills with you. Even make a friendly wager with each other to see who can pay off the first 25% of their debt the fastest. Bragging rights go to the winner, of course! When it comes to\u00a0paying down debt, whether or not you ask friends, family or colleagues to come along for the ride, here are tips and things to keep in mind to help you achieve your goals as fast as possible:Budgeting to Pay Off Debt Budgeting to pay off debt\u00a0ensures that you don\u2019t pay down some debts, like your credit cards, but incur other debt somewhere else. There are many\u00a0ways to pay off debt, so a realistic household budget that accounts for all of your bills and payments means that you won\u2019t neglect some in favour of others.\u00a0 \u00a0 When it comes to establishing a realistic budget, try using an\u00a0interactive budgeting spreadsheet\u00a0to help you juggle the numbers until they balance. 7 Steps to a Budget That WorksPaying Off Debt Quickly with Accelerated Payments When it comes to\u00a0paying off debt quickly, many people don\u2019t think to accelerate their payments the same way you would accelerate mortgage payments. Making payments to credit cards each time you get paid, topping up loan payments, or dropping lump sum payments onto your line of credit or overdraft, helps to\u00a0pay down debt faster. Check with your lender to see if extra payments are allowed (they usually are) and to confirm the best way of making them. Making higher payments means you pay less interest and the cash doesn\u2019t sit around tempting you to spend it elsewhere.Don't Get Carried Away Ensure That You Have Savings for Emergencies Nothing eats into your debt reduction progress faster than an emergency expense. As you create your budget, factor in savings for unexpected expenses so that you have money on hand to pay for at least part of what you need. When it comes to\u00a0how to pay down debt, savings is like having an emergency flat repair kit along on a bike ride.Keep Your Credit Cards Safe from Yourself Credit cards make temptation spending way too easy, so if you\u2019re looking for\u00a0how to pay off your credit card debt\u00a0specifically, you need to stop using them. Avoid carrying your cards with you and store them in a safe place. If your card is joint with someone, store their card with yours. Also remove the card number from any shopping apps on your phone or computer. The idea is to make it hard for yourself to use your card, and to only use it for planned purchases that you know you can afford.Find Extra Money Whenever you receive a little extra money put it towards your debts and bills. It might come from a bonus at work, a commission cheque, an income tax refund, or you may receive gifted funds for your birthday, for instance. More ways to\u00a0find extra money\u00a0include working an extra shift or some overtime, selling something online, consigning clothes or sports equipment, or selling something you make or do as a hobby, e.g. photography, handiwork items or music lessons. Even an extra $50 a month pays your debt off that much faster.Ask for a Lower Interest Rate \u2013 No Letter Required Some people think that they must write a letter to request a monthly payment reduction, or lower fees and interest. No such letter exists. It\u2019s actually best to phone your credit card company or lender to see if you can\u00a0get your interest rate reduced. For a loan they may ask you to come in and renegotiate your existing loan. For a credit card, they may offer you a balance transfer to a new credit card. Consider your options carefully, or come speak with one of our non-profit credit counsellors if you have questions you need answered. Both of these solutions mean applying for new credit and while you might pay less interest, you may also lower your\u00a0credit rating. Weigh the pros and cons; if you don\u2019t plan to apply for credit in the next year or two, a\u00a0balance transfer offer\u00a0or refinanced loan will likely benefit you. Furthermore, for a low\/no interest credit card offer, understand the terms and conditions. Know when the promotional period ends and plan how best to utilize the offer to your advantage.Cut or Reduce Your Expenses Temporarily You\u2019ve scrimped and saved and cut expenses, but you still have a ways to go before your debt is all paid off. That\u2019s when it can feel like you\u2019ve hit a brick wall \u2013 and it\u2019s the perfect time to rely on your support team for the motivation you need to keep working towards your goal. If you haven\u2019t tracked your spending for a while, tracking it again now might show you new ways to save. Try frugality on for size by looking for expenses to cut temporarily, rather than permanently. Quick\u00a0frugal fixes\u00a0include nixing memberships, subscriptions, and packages or bundles where you don\u2019t need all of the services. Contact utility and cell phone companies to see if your services are available for a better price, or if you can scale down to a more basic package for the time being. Review all of your household expenses with an eye to reduce them by at least 10 percent.How to Pay Debt by Consolidating When it comes to\u00a0how to pay debt\u00a0off by consolidating, you can either consolidate what you owe (like into a new loan) or you can consolidate payments (like with a debt repayment program). Depending on your situation, a debt consolidation loan can actually leave you deeper in debt than when you took out the loan. To make a consolidation loan work effectively, you must use a budget to guide your spending. Those who don\u2019t, often end up doubling their debt rather than paying it off. Consolidation loans have their advantages, so speak with your banker to find out if you qualify for a one at a good interest rate, and if it\u2019s right for you. A debt repayment program consolidates your payments, rather than what you owe, and is a program available through the Credit Counselling Society. One of our counsellors can explain the process to you and help you decide if it\u2019s an option your budget can accommodate. \u00a0The Best Ways to Pay Off Debt Quickly and Effectively Some of the best and most effective ways to pay off debt quickly are the\u00a0snowball and avalanche methods. Both single out debts for special treatment, which helps pay off what you owe faster. But keep in mind - it took time to get into debt; it often takes longer to get out of debt again. Asking friends or family to help keep you motivated and accountable is a great way to stay on track. The months and years will pass whether you\u2019re in debt or not \u2013 so make the time count and work towards enjoying the peace that comes from being debt free.