How to get out of debt in 2024: 5 impactful tips

Key Takeaways: 

  • The total household debt in 2023 was $17.1 trillion, according to Experian®.
  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collection agencies from threatening you or calling your family members.
  • The avalanche method helps you pay off debt from the highest to lowest interest rates. The snowball method targets your smallest balances first.
  • The lower your account balance is, the less your interest rate will affect you.

Experian reported $17.1 trillion as the total American household debt by the end of 2023. Unfortunately, debt doesn’t just hamper your current spending power—it can also detract from your nest egg and savings accounts. 

The best way to tackle debt is to be proactive. Here, we’ll discuss several methods to help you get out of debt in 2024. We’ll cover everything from DIY plans to working with debt relief agencies, and we’ll share powerful tools like’s debt-to-income (DTI) calculator

1. Gather Your Debt-Related Paperwork

Gathering all your debt-related documents in one place helps you see how much you owe and who you need to repay. Some of the information you’ll want to collect includes:

  • Monthly statements: Check the downloadable monthly statements attached to your checking and savings accounts.
  • Recurring bills and utilities: Cell phone bills, utility bills, and rent payments all fall under this umbrella.
    Income information: Look at paycheck stubs or your bank accounts so you know what, on average, you can expect in income each month.

Credit reports: You can request your credit report from the three bureaus and a free credit report card from

Debt Tip #1

You can log your outstanding debt information in a spreadsheet, then sort the page from least to greatest to see which items are top priorities.

2. Build a Monthly Budget

Next, you can build a monthly budget based on the information you’ve just gathered. Ideally, you’ll account for major budget categories like rent, groceries, and recurring medical bills. You can then allocate any remaining funds toward your debts, and then your savings goals after your DTI reduces. To start, you can use’s free monthly budget template to better visualize your finances. This template is fully customizable, so you can remove or add categories based on your needs.

Debt Tip #2

Regularly update your monthly budget doc to reflect increases or decreases in your income.

3. Address Any Debts in Collections

When debt goes to collections, that means a bill you’ve yet to repay has been sold to a debt collection agency. Collections agencies can be very aggressive, so it helps to know your debt collection rights.

4 tips describing “what are my debt collection rights."

Sometimes, agencies might mistakenly try to collect debts that have already been repaid. If this error occurs, you’ll be able to rectify the situation with a phone call. If you’re determined to be responsible for the debt in question, it’s best to address it quickly to preserve your credit health.

Debt Tip #3

If a collections agency violates FDCPA guidelines, you can potentially sue them for breaking the law.

4. Explore Debt Repayment Methods

The avalanche method and the snowball method are two popular debt repayment strategies. Effectively using these strategies is a great way to get out of debt quickly.

The avalanche method takes a top-down approach to debt repayment. Here, you’ll focus on repaying your debts with the highest interest rates first, and then you’ll move to paying off your less expensive debts as time goes on. It can be slow going at first, but if you stick to it, you can save more money using this method than if you were to use the snowball method.

With the snowball method, you focus on repaying your smallest debts first as you gradually work toward your largest bills. Taking this “least to greatest” approach to repayment will help build momentum and keep you motivated as you pay off your debts.

Debt Tip #4

Use spare change to help pay your debts down faster. If you use $10 to by an $8 drink, count the leftover $2 toward your debt.

5. Lower Your Interest Rates

Interest rates are essentially fees that lenders charge you for borrowing money. If you have a high interest rate, you’ll have to pay a significant amount of interest in addition to the funds you need to repay. Here are some potential ways to lower your interest rate:

  • Request a lower rate: Once they’ve built rapport, cardholders can ask their banks for lower interest rates. Having strong credit scores and a solid credit history increases the likelihood of success.
  • Consider debt consolidation or refinancing: Debt consolidation loans help you pay off accounts with higher interest rates and gather all of your debt under one bill.
  • Use balance transfer credit cards: Balance transfer credit cards help you move your credit card debt over to accounts with low or even no interest rates during promotional periods. 

Debt Tip #5

Interest payments are based on the amount you currently owe. Try to pay down your balances as much as possible.

What to Do If I Can’t Repay My Debt

If you don’t currently have the capital to pay off your debts, you have several options to reduce your financial burden:

  • Write a hardship letter: You can write a hardship letter that details your current financial situation and send it to your creditors. These letters might pave the way for credit card debt forgiveness.
  • Meet your minimum balance: Try to pay at least your minimum balances due to keep your payment history intact.
  • Gain additional income: If possible, pick up a second job or a financially secure side hustle to help you pay off your debts faster.
  • File for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can greatly reduce the debt you’re responsible for, but there can be consequences, such as a significant hit to your credit.

Options for Debt Relief

There are alternative strategies for debt relief to consider alongside more tried and true methods. Here are some examples:

  • Increase your financial knowledge: Tap into online financial education courses and workshops to boost your literacy and learn more ways to get out of credit card debt.
  • Start a debt management plan: A trustee or credit counseling agency will help you create a plan to whittle down your debts.

Debt settlement: You might be able to negotiate with creditors to pay a lower amount of debt than originally owed. However, debt settlement can adversely affect your credit.

An “Is debt settlement worth it?” pros and cons graphic

Learn More Debt Management Tips With

The more financial knowledge you have, the easier it will be to get out of debt. Check out’s personal finance guide to gain more insights on debt management and debt relief solutions. And when you’re ready, get your free credit score with to see how your debts are impacting your credit.

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