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So you’re paying off debt! First off, imagine me giving you a huge high five right now. I’m beyond proud of you for making a decision that will truly change your future. Chances are you have a long road ahead of you. And I’m going to be real with you here. This journey will not always be an easy one.
In fact, so many people out there decide they want to become debt free and don’t stick with it. They give up for many reasons. But I’m guessing the main reason they give up is because paying off debt is just plain hard. I’m not going to sugar coat this for you (I promised myself years ago that I’d be real with you).
Saying no to the life you are used to is hard.
Sending all your hard-earned money to debt is hard.
Sacrificing month in and month out is hard.
I get it. I’ve been there! But I’m here to tell you that it’s POSSIBLE. I 100% believe that every person is capable of becoming debt free! To help keep you on track, I’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to help you stay motivated on your debt free journey!
1. Have a clear vision.
Chances are you’ve heard this before. But I’m going to go ahead and share it again for the people in the back. When you have a clear vision of what you’re shooting for, then you’ll be motivated to stick to your debt free journey. Some people call this their “why.” Some people call it their “dream.” I don’t care what you call it, as long as you have one!
Sit down and think of WHY you are wanting to become debt free. What do you want your life to look like once you reach this goal? Is your goal to never again fight about money with your spouse? Maybe you want to pay for your kids’ college. Or hey! What about that big trip to New Zealand that you’ve always dreamed of?! Keep your vision in the forefront of your mind.
This will help you stay motivated while paying off debt, even when it becomes difficult. It will remind you why you’re sacrificing now so that you can reap the rewards later. Write down your vision on a notecard and post it on your bathroom mirror. Make it the screensaver on your phone. Do whatever it takes to refer back to your clear vision as often as possible!
2. Break your goals down into manageable pieces.
When we first started our debt free journey, the idea of paying off over $111,000 worth of student loans and car loans felt daunting. Heck, it felt impossible. In that moment we had a choice. We could choose to run away from the idea of becoming debt free, or we could power through. We could either keep living the way that we were, or change everything we were used to so that we could reach a goal that others told us was impossible.
At the beginning of our journey, I had to break down that huge amount of debt into manageable pieces. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to stay motivated while paying off debt! Instead of looking at the huge amount of debt we had, I broke it down into monthly payoff goals. I made it my goal to pay off at least $2,000 each month of debt. I would pat myself on the back when I could exceed that number!
I don’t know about you, but focusing on paying off just $2,000 is less daunting than focusing on paying off $111,000 of debt.
To help you stay motivated, break down your big goal into small goals. Set a goal for how much debt you want to pay off in one year. Then, break that goal down into monthly goals. You’ll see that breaking this down into manageable pieces will keep you motivated. And you’ll realize that even if you’re just putting one foot in front of the other, you’re still making amazing progress!
3. Visually track your debt payoff.
Chances are you have a big job ahead of you! I’m guessing you have a good amount of debt that you want to tackle. And yes, that can be daunting. That’s why it’s so important to visually track your progress. Here’s the thing…there’s going to come a moment in this journey when you’ve forgotten all the progress that you’ve made. There’s going to come a time when you want to give up.
And when that happens, I want you to go back and look at how far you’ve come! There’s something so powerful about being able to truly SEE how much debt you’ve paid off. As you color in the lines of a thermometer (or any tracking page of your choice), you’ll be motivated to keep going.
Hang your tracking page somewhere you’ll see it EVERY DAY. Don’t keep it closed in a binder. Don’t hide it on the side of the fridge. Instead, post it where your eyes will fall on it every single day. When we were paying off debt, I kept our tracker inside our master closet. It was the perfect place because I went there every day, but it was a place our guests never visited!
4. Hold weekly family meetings.
Every single Sunday my husband and I have a weekly family business meeting. We talk about all the things. Our topics range from the meal plan for the week to any activities/meetings that are on the schedule. However, we also set financial and personal goals for the week.
I absolutely love (and look forward!) to this time that we have set in our schedule. It helps us stay on the same page with our family’s schedule and focus on goals we have. This is also when we review our budget, talk about our spending, and discuss savings goals.
This is the PERFECT time each week for you and your spouse (or entire family) to review your debt payoff. It’s a good way to see what’s working and where you need to make improvements. Every few months you can color in your debt payoff tracker during these meetings.
Having a built in time for your family to discuss finances is a great way to stay motivated and refer back to your vision together. It’s something that I wish we had started much sooner in our family!
Want a printable for your weekly family meeting? You can get one here!
5. Create a separate Instagram account to track your debt payoff.
If you’re a fan of social media, then consider starting a separate Instagram account to track your debt payoff! There is an entire community of people on Instagram that are sharing their own debt payoff stories. You’ll be inspired by others who are on the same journey as you. Plus, you’ll get to know people that you otherwise would have never met!
Nervous about sharing your name and financial info online? I totally get it! Not everyone wants to be an open book and share their debt free journey. But the wonderful thing about Instagram is that you can remain completely anonymous. I know people personally who have shared their debt-free journey on Instagram who use fake names. This is a fun way to stay motivated while you work to become debt-free. Follow Inspired Budget on Instagram here!
Need extra help?
Do you need extra help with budgeting and staying motivated with your finances? You can sign up for my FREE Budgeting Basics Email Course! This 6-day course is 100% free and gives you access to my Free Resource Library. This is where I keep a ton of free printables such as cash envelopes, debt payoff trackers, and expense trackers. You can sign up below!