Nobody likes being in debt, HUGE understatement I know. 🙂 If given the choice, we would all prefer to be able to pay for our purchases and never have to deal with the issue of owing other people money. Unfortunately that’s not always the case given the number of people who have had to pay off debt in their lifetimes, myself included.
There may be times, like when buying a house or purchasing a car, that taking on debt is unavoidable. However, once you have taken on debt, there should be one thing on your mind ? paying it off as quickly as possible. Paying off debt isn’t usually easy, and can possibly take several years to accomplish, but can be accelerated by a certain attitude.
Pay off Debt by Making a Commitment
You aren?t going to pay off debt quickly unless you make it a goal and stay committed to that goal until the debt is gone. If you would rather take your extra money and spend it on dinners out and weekends away, you are not going to be able to kill your debt very fast at all. There is generally going to be a good bit of sacrifice involved in paying off debt, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
To start with, decide on what your goal is each month to pay toward the debt. Ideally, this amount will be significantly higher than the minimum payment so you can make headway toward paying off the debt early. In the case of a credit card?that is charging you interest, the extra payment over the minimum is crucial because it chips away at the amount of interest that you will be charged each month. Not only will that extra payment help you pay off debt quicker, but it will also help you save money in the long run.
Sticking with It
Once you get into a habit of paying a specific amount toward your debt each month, don?t fall off track and lose focus on your goal. It is easy to just get comfortable with having that debt over your head and you might be tempted to stop paying extra each month. Resist those thoughts and keep your eyes focused on getting rid of the debt quickly so you can move on without having to worry about those payments.
This attitude you will develop while paying off debt is also not one that you will want to give up on once the debt is gone. Once your debt is paid off you’ll still want to keep that same attitude that got you out of it so you can hit the ground running and continue to grow your wealth.
If you are needing motivation to keep dedicating extra funds to paying off debt, just remember that getting rid of the debt is likely to help improve your credit score, help you get better terms on a future mortgage, and simply improve your overall financial life. When you put it in those terms, it doesn?t seem so bad to sacrifice unnecessary crap in order to save money?for the monthly payment you are trying to make.
There is no way around it ? your debt is not going to get paid off quickly unless you make it a priority to do so. By putting the debt at the top of your list and pushing the extra money you have available that direction, you can start to eliminate it faster than you might think. It might not be a lot of fun in the short-term, but you will feel quite accomplished and satisfied at the end of the process once the debt has been completed repaid.
What things have you done to pay off debt quickly? How do you keep yourself motivated if you’re paying off debt?
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I keep myself motivated by playing silly debt games. Like, I wonder if I can get this balance down to $X by Y date. I log a bunch of silly goals that at quick glance may or may not be achievable (I don’t cheat and do calculations beforehand) but should be probable. Then I refer back to them to see if I was able to meet them or not. Like I said, they are silly, but they make a debt repayment a little bit fun when it really does suck most of the time, even if it is totally worth it in the long run. 😉
I think that’s a great way to do it Deb! Whatever it takes to make the journey better and easier to stay on track is good in my books.
Motivation is such an important part of paying off debt fast! I pay off debt quickly by staying focued on my goal of paying off my house and finally being debt free one day. It helps to dream a little and imagine the good life 😉
I completely agree Monica. That motivation is vital to keeping your drive alive to reach your goals.
Staying motivated when paying down debt is the toughest part. However, once the balances start going down, motivation becomes much easier to come by. I think the number one tip I can give to someone paying down debt is to follow an accelerated payment plan like debt stacking and constant payment…aka…the debt snowball!
I agree, motivation can be difficult especially when you’re just starting out and when you deal with debt fatigue.
I think the best way to stay motivated is to break up your debt repayment goals into smaller amounts and then when you hit those hurdles you should have a mini celebration (i.e. for every $1,000 you pay down you give yourself something you have been denying like a mani/pedi or bottle of wine or something). It is easier to stay motivated when you break down your goals rather than think of one massive one.
That’s exactly what I did Shannon. I’d do something small at each $1,000 down and then something a little bigger, within reason of course, at each $5,000 down. That just gave me more motivation to kill the debt.
Staying motivated is hard but once you clear that first hurdle then feeling you get from it should give you a little boost in confidence. I used the Snowball Method, which some people don’t agree with, but it helped me get rid of debt in less than a year. And the good thing about it is that I felt a sense of accomplishment every time I paid a debt, which made me believe that it was possible to get rid of debt. I never really had that feeling before.
Now my motivation is to build my nest egg and see if I can retire early.
I know some don’t agree with it either, though I tend to think that whatever helps you get the debt killed is good regardless of what you call it.
We put our debt snowball up on the wall in the office where we both see it everyday. This has really helped to keep us motivated.
That’s a great idea Kristin! I’ve done similar things with other goals in the past and being able to see it visually really can go a long way to help motivating you.
One thing I did that was hard but really helped was whenever I got a windfall, like a bonus, I spent 10%, donated 10% (personal preference) and put the rest against debt. Had a little fun and felt good about the unexpected drop in balances putting me ahead of my plan.
That’s a great idea Ken! I can see how that would help balance out having a little fun, giving to a good cause and putting the majority against killing the debt.
IHaving some kind of goal is important. I would like to buy a house and start a family within the next couple of years. Ideally I want to stay at home with my children, I don’t want to be working full time. But if I have ?11k of credit card debt this won’t be possible as I’ll need to find ?300 a month for minimum repayments. The debt HAS to go!
I agree Victoria, having a goal for your debt repayment is vital. Good luck with your goals. 🙂
Staying motivated is key. Waiting on other more fun purchases is not easy. Even forgoing necessary expenses for another year, is hard.
I have put off many items when accumulating assets to purchase rental property. It is all starting to be a bit more fun, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
I agree NNL, it can be difficult to stay motivated when there are other things you want or could arguably need. I always like breaking things up so I can at least throw a little at those areas while still focusing the major part at debt or whatever else it is that I find more important.
I think sticking with it is the hardest part especially with lifes ups and downs!
Totally agreed Cat, sticking to it can be the hardest part.
I agree that one of the hardest things about debt repayment is sticking with it. But, I loved seeing the balances go down. Now that we’re debt-free, I have the opposite hobby: watching the balances go up!
I was the same way Holly as I got started on my debt repayment. Now the balances only go up! 🙂
IT takes extreme dedication to pay off debt. Most live paycheck to paycheck and add in debt repayments in the mix and you have a critically low consisitent cash flow. Do it like a band aide and pay off as much as you can as quickly as possible.
I could not agree more. It does take some crazy dedication, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. That said, kill it as soon as you can and you’ll be glad you did.
A couple of years ago I bought a car, which I financed at a really low rate. I hate the thought of being in debt so I focused on paying the car off. I was able to do so in a short period of time, because I threw all of my extra money at it and picked up some side work. Great tips!
That’s awesome Daisy! I’d be the same way, even if it is a low rate…I hate dealing with debt. 🙂
I tried to pay off my debt ASAP by putting all of my discretionary money towards my debt. That lasted a few months. Turns out I hated life because I couldn’t do anything because all of my money was going towards debt. So, I scaled it back a little bit so that I could go out a few times a month with my friends. I found a healthy balance that allowed me to pay extra on my debt and still have fun without feeling guilty.