Staying Motivated while Eliminating Debt
Although not a traditional four-letter word that would get you into trouble if you said it as a kid in school, there is no doubt debt is one of the worst words in the English language. Financial debt affects your sense of self, your present lifestyle, and your hope for the future. Getting out of debt is an overwhelming, time-consuming task, but the process can be easier when you attack it with a clear plan and focused mind.
Create a complete picture
Debt is a financial and an emotional problem. Since debt is associated with negative feelings, even failure, it may hinder your willingness to address it. In order to tackle and conquer the beast, though, you have to face your debt head-on. And, with any successful attack, you have to know your enemy completely.
Compile a list of all your bills, recurring loans, and other fixed expenses to see the complete overview of your debt. Your credit report also provides valuable insight into your financial life; get it from all three credit bureaus so you have the full picture on your credit activity as well.
Pick a method to eliminate debt
Once you have a comprehensive view of your debt, you can formulate a plan to pay it off. Two of the most popular approaches to debt are the snowball method and the avalanche approach. With the snowball method, you start small, paying off the least costly debts first. This method is all about celebrating small victories to give you momentum to tackle those bigger debts. The avalanche approach is the opposite, focusing on paying off debt with the highest interest rates first.
Whichever approach you choose is up to you and what fits best with your debt-reduction goals and abilities.
Visualize a future free from debt
Sometimes focusing on the reward can make hard work easier and keep you going when you want to quit. Envision what your life would look and feel like when you are debt free. The money you are spending to get out of debt can eventually be put to better use and your mental clarity will improve.
Record every win
Just as important as knowing your debt completely is to recognize every win along the way, big and small. The best way to do that is to keep a detailed account of your debt-reduction efforts. You can use an app, spreadsheet, or write notes in a notebook to keep record of your financial accomplishments. With a tangible record of your hard work, you can see how far you’ve come and stay motivated to keep on eliminating your debt.
With these tips, the right mindset, and a clear plan, you’ll find your way to a less stressful, debt-free life.