By Patty Moore, a writer and blogger who happens to love her family, finances, and career. Patty isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks @WorkMomLife on Twitter. You can also follow her story at Working Mother Life.
For many people, paying off a debt can feel like the longest goal of a lifetime. However, it’s definitely a must if you want to eventually start creating wealth. In addition, it’s also the only way to stop feeling stressed over the debt.
Some people use anger to pay off their debts, but there are plenty of other healthy ways to get out of the financial burden. If your interest bills make you mad, or even sick to your stomach, consider the following methods to get out of debt once and for all.
Think of Your Future
Once you’re out of debt, your life will change. Whether you’re paying off student loans or credit card debts, eliminating these monthly bills is the only way to be free and create wealth.
In the future, it’s possible you could get a new job you love, pack up and travel to where you want to live or visit, work less hours, or simply sleep better. Take some time to write down some ways your life will change and focus on your reason “why” when paying down debts.
Review Your Goals Every Day
In order to achieve a large goal, you must stay laser focused. In order to keep your focus, it’s important to read or mentally visit your goals every day. This could mean looking at a list, a picture, or something else that reminds you why you are working so hard.
One method may be to write down your goals on your smartphone’s home screen so you see them several times a day. Other people write their goals in the bathroom mirror. Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, wrote down the same phrase 10-15 times a day until it came true. For affirmations, write down positive phrases (I will be financially free) rather than negative phrases (I want to get out of debt).
Create Support or Accountability
If you really want to achieve your goals, find a way to create accountability. It’s easier for couples to stick to a diet if both are committed, and the same fact is true for any other goal, including paying off a large debt.
Can you find a friend or loved one in a similar debt situation? Talk to this person and tell them you’re looking for some ongoing help to pay off a major goal. In a way, you’ll be doing it together. If you can’t find someone you know, look for support groups on Reddit, Mr. Money Mustache’s forum, Facebook, finance blogs, Twitter, or other forms of social media.
It’s possible to even find a modern day pen pal, given the reach of the Internet. Either way, this accountability partner will keep you motivated and vice versa.
Try to Remain Patient
Make sure to remain patient throughout the process. Everyone has a different number they need to pay off, but worrying doesn’t help anyone. Instead, make a plan and stick to it.
More than likely, it took you a few years to accumulate your debt, so it’s going to take a few years to get out of it. The key is to chip away at the debt and pay off larger amounts when you get the chance. With your accountability partner and a laser focus, you’ll be debt-free before you know it.
In addition to your laser focus, make sure you are always up-to-date on new information. It’s possible that new methods or regulations could come from the government or even from your own financial standings that could mean thousands of extra dollars in your wallet.
If your credit score has improved, look into refinancing to see if you can get a better interest rate on your debt. One study found that the average Millennial was overpaying their student debt by about two percent. The majority of consumers do not know that refinancing is possible! When you have debt, you need to constantly do your homework. Opportunities for low interest rates are here today, but may not be tomorrow.
Rewarding Your New Debt-Free Life
After you get out of debt, you can live those new experiences you’ve been dreaming about. This could mean switching to a new job you love for less income or simply packing up and going on an amazing trip around the world.
The freedom of a debt-free life is something many people will not experience. However, because you’ve created a list of principles to focus on your debt-free life, you can achieve this goal.
If it still seems overwhelming, figure out a way to reasonably reward yourself for your ongoing hard work. Let’s say you’re paying off three credit cards. After the first, treat yourself by doing something in your budget. Maybe book a round of golf or a trip to the spa to celebrate this milestone.
If this rewards-based incentive sounds like you, make sure to put it on your calendar so it’s earned for the task.
While paying off debt may seem impossible, creating small goals and living by these tips can help with motivation and perseverance. What tips do you have for staying focused on your debt pay-off journey?