Deal sites can help pay down debt

Internet on computer screen

With many Americans facing financial problems, the concept of paying down debt with "extra" money would be laughable were it not so sad.

CBS News reported this week that nearly half of all the unemployed have been jobless for more than six months, a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.

It's hard enough to find and keep one job, so a second and third job to bring in extra money seems unlikely.

With limited options to earn more, how can a person bring growing debt under control?

The answer: Save more.

Fortunately, coupon websites such as Groupon, LivingSocial and now Google Offers make it possible to spend less if you're willing to make the effort.

The concept behind these deal sites is simple: They work with local merchants to provide consumers with discounts for anything from dining to entertainment. Find deals on the discount website or subscribe to a newsletter and receive the deals in your inbox.

For example, Google, which recently launched its test site in Portland, Ore., offered $10 worth of drinks at a local coffee shop for $4 on its Google Offers site.

You might wonder how spending money can help pay down debt.

When you save money on purchases you would normally make -- think about how much coffee you buy in a week, for example -- you free up cash in your budget that can be redirected toward debt payments.

And these deals are significant, sometimes 50% off or more.

Consumers can then allocate their savings to debt payments. As debt payments are accelerated, balances drop quickly, and the revolving cycle of debt can finally be broken.

This is no license to spend money on things you normally wouldn't buy. But this can help you make purchases you normally make more affordable.

Try our roll-down debt calculator to see just how fast you can pay off debt by applying additional payments to your balances.

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