How are you keeping yourself motivated to get out of debt?
Are you making the minimum payments and just hoping there will be some leftover at the end of the month to put towards your loans? Hopefully, these following 5 ideas will help you get organized and stay motivated.
1. Decide which payment you are going to tackle first.
This is crucial in being able to get out of debt. You are going to want to select one payment to focus on and put all your extra money towards. This will allow you to be less distracted and visualize yourself paying it off.
Trying to pay off more than one debt at a time is a lot like multitasking many different things at once. Not only is multitasking bad for you, it actually is counter-intuitive to getting anything done. I used to think it was the only way to get everything done on time. But working on more than one objective means that while you may be making progress on three things at once, you aren’t actually completing any of them.
Pick a debt and focus on it. Live it, breathe it, and visualize yourself never having to call those people again.
This article may be useful if you need help deciding which debt to pay off first.
2. Give yourself a visual reminder.
Once you have decided which debt you are going to focus on, make sure it is front and center in your life.
Write down the name of the debt and your remaining balance on a piece of paper. Below the number, write down a couple of words or phrase that will immediately remind you why is it so important to get out of debt. Here is what mine looks like:
As you make payments you can cross off the number and write down your new total. This helps motivate you to pay as much as you can to get that total lower and lower. Physically being able to change that number will make you feel awesome.
3. Make sure this is front and center in your life.
Tape this piece of paper to the wall. Take a picture of it and make it your background photo on your phone, computer and/or tablet. Put a post-it on your bathroom mirror so it is one of the first things you think about each morning.
Choose the method that fits your needs or figure out more creative ways to make it stand out in your life.
Focusing so intently on your goal will help you reach it faster. When your friend texts you and asks you to come check out the new “foodie heaven” that just opened in the city, you’ll be reminded of your goal.
The more you sacrifice now, the less amount of time you’ll have to sacrifice in order to be out of debt.
More intensity = less “in debt” time.
4. Set up calendar alerts to remind you of your goal.
I currently have quite a few of these alerts set up to keep me on track. These are the alerts I have set up in Google Calendar at this point:
- An event set up to alert me when a payment is due.
- An alert set up a few days prior to it being due just in case I somehow forgot to send the payment already.
- A recurring reminder every week or so that reminds me why I am pushing myself so hard to get out of debt.
Putting your payment due dates into this calendar is helpful because Google will send a “push” notification (seen in upper right-hand corner) to your phone or computer. These are great reminders and have definitely saved me some late fees and headaches.
Here is my personal Google Calendar for payments and bills:
5. Write down the first thing you’ll buy once you make your last payment.
I know this sounds kind of contradictory – I keep telling you to save money, change your mindset and learn to live below your means, but it is also important to have something to look forward to.
Having a goal in mind will help you tremendously in order to make such a drastic change in your life. Try not to go overboard with this one, but make sure to have fun with it as well. By now you should know that a brand new car should not be the thing you are going to buy once you are out of debt.
I will be turning 30 when I make my last payment, so I plan on taking my special someone out to dinner and then having a fun night out on the town with friends. What will you do once you are out of debt?
Not Just For Becoming Debt-Free
While this article was written to help you get on track and out of debt, did you notice what else these steps are good for?
Giving you the push to accomplish any goal.
Choose a goal that is long overdue – make it visually important and a top priority. Then set up reminders to help keep you on track. Finally, create a milestone you will have accomplished once that goal is complete.
Getting out of debt requires you to have a system in place, much like accomplishing any other task in life.
Setting goals for yourself helps you plan and strategize what you want out of life, and setting yourself up for success is crucial to achieving them.
Do you have any suggestions that help you accomplish your goals? Leave a comment below to help your fellow Bright Cents readers.