If you’re one who is focused on getting out of debt, one technique is to sell your personal possessions. It’s something many of us have done. In fact, I’ve purchased many an item from a neighbor trying to raise money for his basic needs. I’ve always questioned this approach because no one has an endless supply of “stuff” to sell. What happens when you run out of items to sell? Besides, the things that are easy to sell are most likely those that are the most useful, and it’s those items a person might care to keep.
The point is simply that selling things can help you raise money, but if you’re selling your personal possessions (not items that you acquired for resale) then eventually you run out of things to sell, and then you need to turn to an alternative way to pay down your debt.
It’s probably much wiser and easier to start off with a more viable alternative that doesn’t have a limited inventory of things to sell. Here are things that come to mind, in the order that I would consider them:
More work – chances are, there are extra hours or additional tasks at your place of employment that can garner you additional income. If the increased income is substantial, you can set most of that aside for getting out of debt.
Higher paying work – use your current skill set and experience to see where else in the marketplace you might be employed, but at a higher rate of compensation. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of looking around to see that you can get higher return on your investment of time and effort. Like Yogi Berra said, “It’s amazing the things you can see, just by looking.”
Second job – no one likes to work multiple jobs, but if it’s a necessity for some, it certainly can be an option for you and others like you who are focused on getting out of debt. The trick is to make sure the demands of one don’t interfere with the demands of the other, nevertheless, it can be done. My sister worked two jobs for more than 20 years, and that’s how she made a comfortable life for herself.
Sideline employment – when we were kids, we cut grass, worked odd jobs and did other things around the neighborhood to earn money. There’s no reason why that can’t be the case today as well, only now, you’re probably much more highly skilled. Perhaps you can paint a house, do some welding, install shelving, tile someone’s bathroom, custom decorate cakes, shop for and deliver groceries to shut-ins, or clean a chimney in the neighborhood. You never know until you venture out to see what people need. This approach could lead you right down the path of higher paying and self-directed success in the form of self-employment.
Sell value added items that you create – a couple of the cornerstones of making money are to: 1) create something from scratch; and 2) add value to something already created such that it’s worthwhile for someone to pay you to do it. As examples, you can: take scrap wood and make carvings; buy craft supplies and make key chains, bookmarks, or earrings; use your art supplies to create works of art for sale; buy T-shirts and transfer paper and make custom designed apparel; or, buy supplies at the grocery store and make specialty cookies that people will pay a premium for.
Self-employment – if your current employment is focused on tasks that have relatively low overhead, and direct costs are paid for by your customers, then you might consider starting your own enterprise as a way of getting out of debt. It’s hard work, but it generally provides much higher potential for income, and you become your own boss. This is the path that I took to extract myself from the jaws of debt, and my only regret is not having ventured into the world of self-employment many years earlier. The day I started working for myself, the “pucker factor” went much higher, but in exchange I doubled my income, got management off my back, became the sole director of my future, and was able to focus on getting out of debt and getting back on my financial feet.
Dip into savings – a stash of cash in the bank is waiting to be put to good use, so perhaps this is time to make use of it. You do have something set aside for that “rainy day” don’t you?
Of course, If it’s poor decision-making that landed you in debt, you’ll want to change your behavior pattern first, and make those changes permanent. After all, you can’t bail financial water out of your boat while you continue to drill holes in it. Even if debt wasn’t directly your fault, there may be other changes necessary in your life to help avoid financial trouble again. As part of my getting out of debt plan, I moved to a state without income tax, and that saved me lots of money each month — enough to pay for rent, groceries and utilities — allowing me to bank all of what normally was my take home pay.
If none of the ideas here appeal to you, I’d suggest you sit down with people who have pulled themselves out of “too much month left over at the end of the paycheck” and learn about what course of action they took and what alternatives might be best for you. Experience is a valuable teacher, and there is no sense ignoring what others have done to be successful. These “veterans” will know firsthand about the challenges they faced and what alternatives might offer you the greatest potential for success.