If you are paying debts right now, sometimes it can be disheartening to watch your home pay goes down after just a few minutes. For most people, it is manageable to live frugally. However, it is the fact that a big chunk of your pay goes to the debt that is a bit painful.
In this post, we will give you tips on how to stay motivated in your debt recovery journey. These are tips from people who had been in a similar situation and would love others to know what they have done to stay on track.
8 Tips on How to Stay Motivated When Paying Off Debts
Focus on the number that goes up (net worth), not on the number that goes down (your bank account)
Every month, calculate your net worth (money that you have right now less money that you owe), and watch how it goes up in time. As you pay your debt, your interest will be less and your net worth will grow as well. It can be very motivating.
At present you might start with the negative. Maybe you will start at -$15000, then next year it’s -$10,000, and so forth, until you get to the most awaited $0. It will get more and more positive along the way and you will be more motivated to keep up.
It’s just a waiting game
If you already have good habits and system in place, all is just a waiting game. The accelerator is already laid out on the floor, ready for the zero dollar switch to flip.
Make a visual record
If you are a visual person, creating a net worth chart would be very motivating. Seeing your net worth goes up visually will help you stay committed for the long-term, and the chart will allow you to easily see the progress.
Ways on how to create a visual record:
- Get a graphing paper and assign an amount for every square, for example, $50 for every square. For every debt paid, color in the right number of squares
- If you can draw, create some swirls that represent the amount of your debt. You can get ideas from this site. You can also print out some ideas online. This temperature meter is also a cute way to see your progress.
- Good old excel is also fine. This site has good net worth templates including budget templates.
Pay attention to the interest
Some people can get motivated when they see how much they pay for the interest. Instead of just looking at $900 going into debt, you might discover that $500 goes to the principal and $400 to interest.
You will start to realize that you are paying that much for the interest, and you will be more motivated to get out of debt.
You can reward yourself like eating out for one meal every month, or a movie.
Tips on how to make the rewards more fun
- Create some envelopes with rewards written inside. You can number them and tape them on a wall. Pick one after you have reached a goal. The goal can be $500, $1000, $5000, etc.
- You can also make this random. You can write down the prizes on small pieces of paper and put them in a bowl, then draw one at random when you hit the goal
Break a large task into smaller tasks
If you currently have larger debts to eliminate, you can try breaking them down into smaller amounts. For example, you have $10,000 debt, you can break it into smaller pieces, like every $2000. You can represent them visually, a chart or an excel spreadsheet (refer to #3).
Picture the end goal
Imagine yourself finally getting out of debt and enjoying your hard-earned cash for yourself. Think of where you’ll be in 5 years. It is difficult when you’re at it, but in the end, it’s all worth it!
Think about your pay increase
The money that you pay to your debt at present seems nonexistent at first, but when you reached your goal, just imagine how much “pay increase” you’ll get! It’s like waiting for a pay increase, and doesn’t it make you feel excited?
So there are our top 8 tips on how to motivate yourself to pay your debts. Some people would like to see something go up (increased net worth), while others are happy to see something go down (my debt is down by $2000). Others like to celebrate and reward themselves, while others like to see visually how they are doing. Others are happy to anticipate their brighter future or checking a goal off a chart.
No matter what tip you choose, the important thing is to do something that makes sense to you, and one that you can keep up with. Create a goal that is achievable, in bite-size pieces, so you don’t get overwhelmed. It’s a goal that is big enough to get a real sense of achievement, but not so big that you get tired in the process and give up.
No matter what, you got this!
Before you leave, please share with your family and friends who might need the tips above!