Paying off debt can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when your income is static and it seems your basic expenses consume everything you earn. The good news is an effort to pay off debt is a simple matter of mathematics. If you know what your financial burden is and you also know how your debts are contributing to your expenses, you can use that knowledge in your favor.

The key thing to remember is this: Any paid off debt instantly applies all its future interest directly to your bottom line. This is why it is vitally important to analyze your debts to see which has the highest rate and which is likeliest to save you the most in the shortest amount of time. Here are some things to consider.

Find Additional Income

Many people approach financial problems by trying to squeeze ever-larger expenses into a box labeled “income” that never grows. This is a losing proposition. Even if you manage your expenses meticulously, taxes and inflation will eventually defeat your static income strategy.

Your income must grow or you will be unable to overcome the inexorable advance of your expenses. There are numerous ways to make additional money even if you don’t decide to look for a new job. Find them, build more income and you’ll have the war chest you need to defeat your debts.

Analyze Your Taxes

Even if you need to hire an accountant to do it, you should take at least 3-4 weeks and do a deep dive analysis of your taxes. It is very likely you are overpaying on some level, especially if you routinely get a refund. If your additional income strategy develops into a side business, that will give you a considerable platform for deductions that may end up saving you more than you think.

The Grocery Store

If you take the time to look for them, there are voluminous ways to save a gigantic amount of money at the grocery store. All of these savings can be immediately plowed into a second payment every month or every two weeks against a monthly debt. One of the key products to watch for is detergent. Soap costs pennies a bottle to manufacture, and you’re probably paying eight dollars for it. While you’re at it, look for coupons and online deals at your local store, and you can probably pocket an extra three figures a month.

It is easy to take a cavalier attitude when it comes to money, especially when you’ve given up on ever balancing your own books. This is a mistake because it is one of the proximate causes of debt problems. Scratch to save every penny you can. That’s the key to getting out of the hole.