We talk a lot about clearing debt. It is important after all, and even though we broker loans, which by definition add to debt, we only advise such products if they are to benefit the borrower. But clearing debt can be stressful. So we took a look at how to stay motivated whilst clearing debt.
Briefly it is probably worth mentioning my own situation as a useful case study. As the pandemic hit last March i was not in a good place financially. I was scrambling around for money and my credit cards were all maxed out. Thankfully i have really turned around things in the past year having finally woken up to my situation. As it stands, i have halved my debt. And yet i feel more stressed about my situation right now than i did a year ago. But that is a good thing in a way, because i feel more stressed as i am facing my situation and tackling it. I now am intent on eradicating my debt as soon as possible. I was more relaxed when i was turning a blind eye to my problems. But i could not turn a blind eye forever. So the following tips are useful to me as well as some of you no doubt!
There is no need to play the blame game. There is nothing to gain raking over the past, apart from learning lessons to take forward. But you can be angry, and let that drive you forward. Angry at how having to pay off debt every month restricts what you can do and achieve in life. How it affects your happiness and raises your stress levels. But use that anger. Stay angry. It will help you lower that debt and move towards a brighter future. Think about all of the money that you are wasting each and every month on interest payments, late fees, and overdraft costs.
I dread to think how much money it cost me turning a blind eye to the financial problems i had. It took a pandemic and a forced lockdown for me to confront the issues i had. It is clear what i should have done much earlier. Sought out extra income, and lowered costs. I should not have said yes to everything and should have made many more sacrifices until my situation was under control. Lesson learned. Your financial problems will not go away if you ignore them. Ever.
How good does it feel? You should do this not to remind you of what are missing out on, but as another method to drive you on. It may be useful to write down what you would do differently without debt, and plan out a road-map towards that destination. Write down your thoughts. Consider why you want to get out of debt, what freeing yourself of debt will allow you to do and more.
So you will want to have set goals that you are moving towards. And you need to review these goals on a regular basis, perhaps even daily. What do you actually want out of life to be happy? Just one holiday a year and a working car? Or a lot more? You need to decide what you are working towards, but be realistic. You can always create new goals when you finish your first journey of eradicating your existing debt.
Why am i more worried about my debt than i was when it was much higher a year ago? Because i have become more impatient. At least once a week i have to take a step back, take a deep breath and acknowledge that i am moving in the right direction. And that is good enough. If my debt is lower with every passing month there is no need for me to panic or get highly stressed. Rome wasn’t built in a day.