How to Stay Motivated when Paying Off Large Debt
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Congrats! You are ready to get out of debt!
You made your budget, cut back on your lifestyle, and even got a side hustle.
This girl is on fireeeeeeee!
Then you decide to take your goal setting one step further, and calculate your debt free date.
It’s three years from now. Dang.
Your motivation sort of wavers.
“What’s the point?!”, you start to think. It’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you have a large amount of debt like me, it can be a daily struggle to stay motivated.
One day I’m completely killing it. The budget is going great. I make some extra cash side hustling, get an unexpected refund, or find 20 bucks in an old purse.
Woo hoo! I’m really going to get out of this.
Suddenly, the kids get sick, the car brakes down, and another bill shows up that I didn’t even know I had.
“Put it on the tab,” I find myself saying sarcastically.
I start to wonder, if there’s any chance we will ever get out of this debt mess we created.
It’s hard y’all. When you have six figure debt, it can be overwhelming to say the least.
Related Post: How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, of course!
You have to break it down into small goals, remember your WHY, and just keep truckin’.
Here are my best tips to stay motivated when you’re tackling a large amount of debt.
Set Small, Measurable Goals
It is absolutely demotivating to stare at a six figure student loan bill and think about how long it will take to get it paid off.
Usually, your student loans are broken down into smaller chunks. My smallest one is just over $1,000 while the largest is around $50,0000.
If I look at the entire student loan balance it feels pretty hopeless, but when I look at that $1,000 loan, I start thinking of everything I can sell or the extra jobs I can work to pay that off by the end of the month!
Once that is paid, BOOM! Motivation. Now we can move on to the next smallest loan on that list.
If you really do just have one huge lump sum due to a consolidation or something, then set small goals.
Decide that by the end of the month, you will put $1000 on your loan, then get to work!
Related Post: How to Set SMART Goals
Do the Debt Snowball Method
In keeping with the theme of small goals, the debt snowball method uses the motivation of small wins to keep you pushing forward.
Many people start worrying about interest rates and end up confusing themselves right in to giving up.
The debt snowball method calls for you to:
- Order your debts from smallest to largest
- Make minimum payments on everything but the little one
- ATTACK the smallest one with every extra dime you can find
Once you pay off the littlest one you roll that minimum payment, plus everything else you were chucking at it, and start attacking the next smallest one.
Sometimes EVERYTIME, behavior works better than math.
Related Post: Dave Ramsey Baby Steps for Paying Off Debt
Move the Needle
If you calculate how long it’s going to take you to pay off your debt, and you think it’s wayyy too long. Make more money!
Yes, if you want to get out of debt faster, making more money is a great place to start.
If you don’t think you have time to pick up a part time job, you are wrong my friend.
The internet alone creates some crazy good opportunities to make extra cash at any hour of the day.
If you’re not “techy”, you can drive for UBER, walk dogs, or babysit. There is work to be done y’all.
Pick up a side hustle and pay off debt faster!
Related Post: Side Hustle Ideas
Remember Your WHY!
You have to have a constant reminder for why you are doing this. Getting in to debt is super easy, getting out…not so much.
It takes complete intentionality and focus. You have to be completely invested in the process, and know exactly why you are doing it.
- Do you want you’re kids to be able to go to college debt free so they don’t suffer the same financial stress as you?
- Are you hoping to retire early and travel the world?
- Is there a tug at your heart to be outrageously generous, to give and serve others?
Whatever your why, you need to find it and focus on it when things get rough…because life will happen while you’re trying to get out of debt.
Celebrate Small Wins
You need to celebrate the little wins. Don’t go out and buy a new car silly, BUT jump up and down, have a dance party, take a family photo to remember how that day felt.
Make this a family affair and do it together. Your family and marriage will be stronger because you are ALL working together toward a common goal.
The time will pass anyway, and three years from now we will either be worse off, or on the Dave Ramsey show doing our DEBT FREE SCREAM! I’ll opt for the latter.