If you’ve got yourself organised, made a statement of what’s owed, stopped things getting further out of control and decided which method you’re going to use pay your debts off – it’s time to just get on with it!
Of course, that’s easier said than done sometimes, especially when you have a large debt load that’s going to take a long time to pay off. It can be hard to stay motivated, but here are a few ideas to help you keep your spirits up.
When tackling debts, you have to commit to:
- Living on a budget (and possibly making big changes to your lifestyle)
- Not adding further to the debt
- Meeting your chosen repayment schedule
[Ideally, it’s also good to look at ways you can increase your income, even if it’s only a pound or two here and there. This will allow you to pay the debts off faster, or, if you prefer, to have a little money to spare so that you’re not living on a very restrictive budget.]
So you need to find ways to feel good about sticking to your budget, and feel good about sticking to your repayment schedule.
STEP 1: First of all, take a few minutes to think about why you want to be debt free. What will it mean to you? How will it make your life better? It’s good to have a strong reason for doing it.
STEP 2: Get motivated about budgeting. There are lots of ways to track your budget, from notebooks to spreadsheets to apps. In particular, some of the budgeting apps have colourful visuals and a few of them even feel like games or challenges.
There are also plenty of online communities and blogs dedicated to budgeting, so have a search for a few of those too, because it’s easier when you know you aren’t alone and feel part of something bigger.
STEP 3: Hammer those debts and don’t let up. Once you’ve decided on your debt repayment schedule, even if it’s a short term commitment, it’s also very motivating to track the repayments, ideally with something where you can see the debt getting smaller and smaller. Many budgeting and money management apps have areas in them where you can track debts as well as savings, so that’s an easy and convenient way to keep everything in one place.
Most free get-out-of-debt apps promote the ‘snowball’ method of debt repayment, and I’m not convinced that’s the right option for a lot of people so I won’t be reviewing those here. Alternatively, you can work out how many repayments you’ll need to make to become debt free, and make a wall chart to fill in as you go along. Having an image to look at works far better as a motivational tool for many people than looking at numbers in a spreadsheet.
Joining a community of other people who are on the way to becoming debt free is another excellent way to stay motivated. A problem shared is a problem halved, and all that. It’s also helpful to see the goals and targets that other people are setting for themselves, and seeing what’s possible. Have a look for message boards and Facebook groups where you might feel at home.
And finally, if you’re feeling down, stressed or depressed about debt, speak to someone from one of the brilliant debt charities we have in this country. They’ll be able to give you practical help and moral support at the same time.
Do you have any tips for staying motivated while paying off debts? Please share them.