How to slash your debt: your best debt cutting hacks

Debt Hacker is campaigning to put power in the hands of borrowers and help them fight back against exploitative, high-cost lending. But we also want to help those in debt rid themselves of the burden.

With this in mind and Christmas on the horizon, we asked the Debt Hacker community to gather their best hacks for ridding themselves of their debt. We’re calling it “Debt Hacks” (see what we did there?).

We’re sharing our favourite Debt Hacks here. But do let us know if you have great ones of your own.

The best ways to cut debt

“My biggest debt hack has been ‘Zero Sum’ budgeting. I’d always sucked at budgeting – mainly because I was like ‘Okay, I will aim to spend £X every month on Y’. Whether or not the sum of all the £X was the same as the money I got paid or had on hand. But as soon as I failed to meet part of it, I’d just drop it all for a month and the cycle continued. Thinking in terms of ‘I have £X today and I need it do do A B C until I get paid again’ has been life changing.” - Ben

“Planner tip: Budget for your bills, but then add 5-10%. It’ll be harder in the short term, but you save a few quid each month and life’s surprises are easier to handle. Quick tip: Used the credit card in the last month? Pay in some spare change when you have it, this will help round the total down and encourage you to not just stick to the monthly repayments.” - Gareth

“Only use your credit card as a last resort and always pay more than the minimum payment due each month.” - Becca

“Try to pay off the most expensive debt first, the rest can hopefully be paid off slower or reduced rate. Always get your creditors’ permission first, as most will be pretty understanding.” - Leon

“Admit to yourself that you are having money problems. This does not mean you have to tell anyone else. But acknowledging it to yourself is very difficult.

Write everything down. Who you owe money to (both companies and people), regular bills (water, electricity, etc.)

Decide and write down what is critical, important, nice to have and other. Be honest with yourself. This is hard because it involves questions like ‘do I really need to own a car?’ but also ‘could I own a cheaper car?’.

Ask for help. All lenders have a duty to their customers and if you cannot afford to pay a debt then they have teams of people who will help work out a plan. But do remember that consolidating loans is not always the answer, as it can make things more expensive.

Stick to your plan whilst you can, however if things change (circumstances, jobs, etc.) then reassess.” - David

“Different bank accounts really helped me get out of debt. I’d have one for bills or credit card payments, one for my salary, and then one for whatever was left over, which I was free to spend.” - A. Newland

“Get a modern bank account like Monzo, so it gives you proper spending analytics (and no unnecessary fees).” - Andre

“The best thing I ever did was to stop paying by direct debit and start paying manually. For one thing, it avoided any bank charges. It is surprisingly, but if you are a week or so late paying a lot of things (if you have to, for whatever reason) then companies don’t really mind and will let you. But if you miss a direct debit you’re hit with a charge from your bank. Secondly, it actually made you constantly think of your finances, and how much you were spending. Paying my phone bill via card each month made me look at my bill before paying, and query any charges I didn’t expect. Thirdly I still do it now and manage to get a fair amount of air miles by paying bills via Amex.” - Jonathon

“Buy smart brand items, don't buy luxury.

Put water in your sauce bottles.

Go to cheaper shops – I know everyone has them.

Switch lights off – we don't need Blackpool illuminations.

Stay in, Netflix and chill and cut those pesky fuel bills!” - Jake

Share your best debt cutting hacks

We’re still looking for the best ways to shred your debt, so leave your top debt hacks in the comments below.

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