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10 Ways to Get Out of Debt

5. Buy one, donate three.

You know that you have too much stuff and your closets and other storage areas prove it. If you really want to purchase something, vow to donate, sell or get rid of three items for every one that you buy. If you want that new shirt, those new shoes or a new book, you have to give up three of each to get it.

No, it's not easy giving things you have up, but this will ensure that you only buy things that you really want and avoid gathering that 80% of junk that most people buy but no longer use.

4. Make Christmas a no-spend holiday.

Decide that you are opting out of the commercialism of Christmas or whatever winter holiday you celebrate and turn it into a no-spend holiday. Instead, go back to the roots of what the holiday is supposed to mean. It will not be easy and friends and family may not understand, but not only will you save a bundle of money, you'll have a less stress while getting a lot more meaning out of the holidays.

3. Don't eat out.

That's right. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all made at your kitchen at home. No exceptions for snacks (no trips to the bakery or the office vending machine) and coffee (sorry Starbucks (SBUX)) as well. If it goes into your mouth, it is prepared by you from your kitchen. This means putting aside time to prepare meals and snacks and taking everything with you when you leave your house. Though not easy, the results will dramatically improve both to your health and your pocket book.

2. Don't pay for entertainment.

There was a time when we had to entertain ourselves and although it might be difficult to give up paid entertainment, it's possible to go back to those roots and find your entertainment for free. You likely have to look a little harder, be a little more creative and be a bit more active, but there are plenty of opportunities to trade in paid entertainment for activities that are free -- walks, hikes, bike rides, concerts in the park to name just a few.

Getting your entertainment at no cost means more effort on your part, but you'll find things that satisfy your interests much more while also giving a boost to your bank account.

1. Start your own business.

More work after work is not what most people would consider easy, but it's a great way to help your finances. It means working a double shift; eight hours at your current job and then when you get home, another eight on building your new business.

It takes time and patience to build a new business, as well as a lot of effort, so pick one that you enjoy. Whether your part-time business makes a little to supplement your regular income or grows so that it's making as much as your regular job, it will help your bottom line.

Upon reading this list, you probably decided that all of these suggestions are impossible for you -- before even thinking of a strategy on how each could be accomplished.

Again, these are hard ways to improve your finances, but adopting any of them can change your financial outlook for the better both quickly and dramatically.

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Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.
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