8 Ways To Effectively Reduce Or Eliminate Debt


In case you haven't noticed, we are in the midst of a collective awakening. And even as consumers, we are demanding the truth when it comes to brands and how we spend our dollars. With truth comes personal accountability and increased awareness. Now in order to build generational wealth and make sure your legacy has a seat at the table (or the resources to construct their own), we have to stop putting band-aids over our "money wounds" and start thinking long-term about our less stressed and financially-free FUTURE selves.

My mission is to normalize money conversations and to create a safe space for dialogue to increase financial and emotional wellness.

Just like with your healing journey, it is your personal responsibility to seek out resources to elevate your money mindset on your path to financial wellness. I mean, that's why you're here, right? And the good news is that many of you are already out here doing THE WORK (yes, the grueling, unattractive personal work that doesn't typically make it onto the social media highlight reel). So while you are ELEVATING sis, here are some tangible tips to help you eliminate debt and stop the bleeding:

1. Break Your Pay Down Into A TIME VS. MONEY Comparison

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Time is the only nonrenewable resource. Break your pay down into how much it costs you per hour. For example, if you make $25 and want to purchase something that cost $200, that's 8 hours of pay (and of your day). Now ask yourself, is this time vs. money exchange really worth it or do you prefer to allocate my pay in another way (BARS)? If you decide against the purchase, decide whether or not it would be worth it to throw the money you thought about spending on a splurge towards your purpose. Ask yourself if you should allocate those funds to a major stressor in your life and knock out some debt sooner so that you'll eventually acquire more disposable income for the things you really want to do later in life. Instant gratification in a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of creating the life that you want.

2. Sleep On It

Give yourself a certain number of days to think before you make a purchase that is not a NECESSITY or an investment in bettering yourself. For example, anytime you make a purchase that is entertainment, clothing, or NOT need-based, sleep on it for three nights and then decide if you really need it. You may find most of your purchases are emotional.

Sitting with your feelings (taking note of what you are feeling or what happened when the urge to splurge comes up) and increasing your emotional intelligence will allow you to dodge making impulsive decisions to fill a void perhaps linked to a source of pain that may be outside of your awareness. For example, you don't have to be SEEN through what you wear to feel SEEN in a society that has marginalized you if it sets your bank account back and sends you down a slippery slope of guilt, shame, and avoidance. If no one has ever told you, you are enough just as you are. The rest is a luxury, and luxury my dear is meant to be comfortable.

3. Do A Subscription Review

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Monthly subscription services are all the rage. The problem? They add up quickly and many times we have them on autopilot, completely forgetting that it comes out of our account every month. Is this a coincidence or a brilliant sales strategy? Take a quarterly inventory of these and release yourself of the ones that you don't or rarely use or find more economical options and start allocating those autopayments to the debts you are looking to eliminate!

Common subscription service culprits include: gym memberships, Amazon, hair vitamins, themed box subscriptions that you really don't use, streaming services, lead generation if you're a business owner but aren't using the leads etc.

4. Try The SNOWBALL Effect

Or let's use the bowling ball analogy. Whichever you prefer, target a certain debt or "pin" that you want to knock down. A good way to select your "pin" is tackle the smallest debt or the one that is the biggest thorn in your side and greatest point of pain. Use the money you are saving in the tips above and begin to aggressively attack those debts. Once you've paid that one off, the monthly payment you had now becomes leverage to snowball into the next debt. Keep letting the (snow)ball roll until you have a domino effect and eventually you will be debt-free.

5. Consider A Balance Transfer

Dealing with bills

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Balance transfers are a great way to hit the reset button and help get out from under compounding interest where you're paying interest on yesterday's interest. A balance transfer allows you to reset your debt at 0% interest for 12 or 24 months (find the right introductory offer) with a fee. Make sure you have the funds available to attack the debt and pay off the WHOLE thing before the introductory period ends and set it up on autopay. Your future self will thank you for it. Your birthright is not to survive, but to THRIVE.

6. Make Autopay Your Friend

I talk to many people and clients who wait to pay their rent or credit cards until the last day because they don't want the creditor to have the money. Then what happens? They owe the creditor more money in fees because they forgot to pay it...sometimes requiring all the interest over the introductory period of no interest being called due. Hold yourself accountable and make autopay your friend. Don't let your ego get in the way and cost you more money that could go towards a debt.

7. Use Your Home As A Bank

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Now, if you are a Dave Ramsey fan, this might make you question your life. But the truth is, fixing your finances is not one size fits all. I have a lot of respect for Dave and agree with many of his principles. However, there are some that I disagree with... like requiring 20% down payment to purchase a house (not to mention missing out on free money through the form of DPA, down payment assistance). If you are buying in a good market, by the time you saved 20% for your down payment (or waited for a gift from your parents who don't have generational wealth to pass it to you), your home value could have increased significantly and you could be getting cash out for another investment. EQUITY is paper, and if you don't use it you lose it during downtimes.

If you are a responsible person who has a tendency to pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards and debts, then this may be a great way for you to feel relief from massive monthly payments of credit cards and student loans.

8. Figure Out Who You Really Are, What You Really Want And What's Your Definition Of Success

This will allow you to be proactive and identify what debts if any are critical to your goals and dreams. If formal education is important to you, student loan debt may not be a bad idea. Just make sure the ROI (Return On Investment makes sense) based upon the field you are going into or going back to school for. Many of us can relate, I started out pre-med to achieve the highest level of formal education and took another direction. Never be afraid to reinvent yourself. Stay true to you. Life is about balance and is meant to be enjoyed. Hustling for our worth is hustling backwards. Trust me, I've been there and didn't even know the source until I got to the root of the need for my own validation and started to peel back the layers of my own money story.

To see true, lasting change, it's time to have some real, open, and brutally honest conversations with a trusted advisor, therapist, or money and mindset coach. Be real with yourself about the reasons you make purchases regardless of whether you do or don't have the money. Is it to be seen, or to feel worthy or validated? Is it an inability to say no or a byproduct of people-pleasing? Don't get me wrong, life is meant to be enjoyed and living your best life or stunting from time to time while acting your wage is perfectly fine.

Issues arise when our life becomes a full-time stunt like a Big Tymers music video and our budget doesn't match the image or persona we are putting out.

It's time for us to evaluate what we really want and need out of life and who we really do things for that continue to set us back from our authentic selves. Inner peace is the real bag and eliminating debt is key. Are you ready to secure it, QUEEN?

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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