You can have all of the advice and all of the debt-fighting tools out there, but they
will not mean one thing without motivation and determination. You have to finally
decide that you want to become debt-free and you are ready to commit to making
that dream a reality.
But how can you keep motivated?
Some people are more naturally motivated than others. If you are they type of
person that is having troubles getting yourself in the right frame of mind to become
debt-free, here are some ways I have found help keep the motivation strong.
1.) Start a Blog! Having your financial situation out there for all to see has created a
sense of accountability for me, even though it is anonymous. The last thing I want
to do is to write how I spent my tax return on a huge HDTV that we really didn't
need (although, I admit - it is sooooo tempting). There are also comments that
others leave that can make you feel like a million dollars, the ones where you find
that YOU are an inspiration to someone else.
2.) Read Personal Stories About Others Fighting Debt. Not only can you pick up
some great tips that may work for you, you will also be able to follow someone's
story and share in the good times as well as the bad times. A great place to find
personal finance blogs to read is www.pfblogs.org.
3.) Read and/or Join Message Boards. There are some great message boards out
there for reducing your debt. Not only will you find some great information,
message boards can be a place to "sound-off" when things are getting rough. There
are many people in the world, and finding someone in a similar situation can help
wonders if you stick together.
4.) Keeping Track of Your Debt Balances. There's a big difference in knowing you
have debt versus being actually being able to see the concrete numbers in front of
you. It may come as a shock when you see that grand total, but it's something you
need to do. As you start paying off debt - keep making reports that show the
progress you are making. Seeing the progress can help add "motivation fuel."
5.) Add Up All of Your Monthly Finance Charges. Look at that number - that is the
cost of your debt. That is all money that you would have if you were debt-free.
There are many other things I would rather be doing with that money. Let that
amount motivate you to reduce it to zero.
6.) Add Up All of Your Monthly Minimum Payments on Your Debt. For me, this was a
HUGE eye-opener. After seeing all of the money that I have to use every month to
pay debt, I realized that there is a very large chunk of money that could be used for
other things, like perhaps saving for retirement someday or getting health
insurance. The things that we just can't afford right now because of all of our
monthly debt payments. Use it to fuel your motivation and determination because
there are other things in life you want to do.
7.) Try Not to Get Depressed. Depression is a big motivation-buster, but it is so
easy to go into when your debt is making your life miserable. I still get depressed
sometimes, and when I am I do not go shopping and I just stay away from financial
decisions while depressed. Then, work on feeling better by focusing on what you do
have instead of what you don't have.
8.) Allow Yourself Mistakes!! No one in this world is perfect, and we are all bound to
make mistakes. We just have to figure out what went wrong then pick ourselves up
and keep going. Learn from your mistakes and try not to dwell on them. Use them
as motivation, because once you make a mistake and learn from it - it won't be
made again. Look at the positive side of your mistake.
And here are a few motivators for those with lower incomes like myself:
9.) Don't Compare Lifestyles. It may seem like all of the stories you read in the
media about debt success stories are for families with larger incomes. To fight debt
they have eliminated expenses such as landscaping or trading in their expensive
SUV's. They do have more discretionary spending to cut. It's hard, but do not focus
on that! Rather, just look at the success story behind it and how they were
motivated to make a change in their life. The goal to become debt-free is what
binds us all together. Share in their success and keep yourself heading towards your
10.) Realize How Strong You Are!!! When you have a lower income, you do have to
go about reducing your debt differently and have to forgo what some consider
"necessities". Just remember that every time you lower your heat to 60 degrees
during the day or every time you purchased used clothing instead of new - you are
really showing how STRONG YOU ARE!! If I could, I would visit every one of you that
are having a hard time seeing this in yourself and I would be your personal
cheerleader. Why? Because it is so true! You are already very strong, and already
have the potential to move mountains. Get motivated and determined to become
debt-free. You CAN and WILL do it!!
Now, with all of these ways to get motivated - let's get to it everyone. Let's become
Tricia Sperry is currently paying of over $37,000 worth of credit card debt with an
income teetering around $40,000. To view her progress, please visit her blog
(Blogging Away Debt) at http://bloggingawaydebt.blogspot.com.