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Paying off debt requires a plan. It also requires some serious dedication. If you decided a while ago that you were going to follow a plan to pay off debt, you may occasionally find yourself struggling to stick to this plan. That’s common. Depending on how much debt you have, you may have to stick with a reduced budget for quite some time in order to pay it off. This can be tough to sustain.
This is especially true if you had to give up a lot in order to get under budget in the first place. While cutting out takeout food and coffees and stopping going to movies can certainly help you reduce your expenses, stick to a budget and pay off debt, it’s natural that you may have the tendency to slip back into old habits every so often.
Eating out is fun for many people and it’s easier than cooking at home. The same can be said about buying coffee at a coffee shop instead of making it in your kitchen. It’s difficult to give up seeing movies in theatres. It’s only natural that, after some time, you may lose your motivation to stick with your plan to pay off debt.
So how can you get this motivation back? Here are some suggestions.
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Review your financial situation
- When you initially made your plan to pay off debt, you likely looked at your financial situation very closely. You probably wrote down all of the details of your income, expenses and debt and came up with a plan to reduce the amount of debt that you have.
- Now that you’ve been following your plan for a while, it’s time to look at your situation again. Has it improved? Do you have less debt than you did before? If you do, use this as motivation. There’s nothing quite like past success to keep you going forward!
- If you’re finding it very tough to stick to your budget and your plan, you may want to consider making some changes. This doesn’t have to mean spending more money, but it could involve shifting some money around to better meet your priorities.
- For example, you may have assumed that cutting out your Netflix subscription was a good way to save some money. However, you might now realize that the money you spent on this subscription made you happy and caused you to enjoy life more. It may have even helped you avoid spending in other areas. If this is the case, consider reinstating this expense and cutting something else instead. This way, you’ll still be able to stick to your budget and you’ll have a better time doing so.
Reward yourself for successes
- One of the hardest parts of sticking with a plan to pay off debt is that, for some people, the process could take a very long time. This means that you won’t get a reward (i.e. having a debt-free life) for many years. It’s difficult to go this long without positive reinforcement.
- One solution to this problem is to set smaller goals for yourself and give yourself rewards for reaching these goals. For example, if you manage to get rid of one particular debt, that’s a goal you’ve accomplished. If you save a certain amount of money each month, that’s another goal that you’ve accomplished.
- The rewards for reaching these goals don’t have to be big, and they shouldn’t be expensive, but small rewards can provide a lot of motivation.
- Not only will you be motivated by the rewards, but the sheer act of achieving a goal will cause you to want to keep going.
Deciding to pay off debt is a good idea and one that can improve your financial life considerably. It’s important to know that losing motivation to stick to a plan is entirely normal. Don’t beat yourself up if you overspend one month and don’t consider your plan “ruined” and throw it away completely just because you made a few missteps. We can help you as we have helped thousands of other people who have finally started a debt free and stress free life.
By reviewing your plan, making adjustments as needed, setting goals and rewarding yourself for reaching those goals, you’ll be able to recommit to a plan to pay off debt and put yourself in a stronger financial position going forward.
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