There it is, staring right at you. The debt payoff plan. You were probably very motivated when you created your plan for paying off debt. Chanting “you got this!” as you spent the first week following it very closely. You might have made it a month or two, feeling super good as you watched yourself chip away at the annoying debt. But then a sale came along. Maybe it was a new toolset, massive shoe sale, or any kind of advertisement that made you crave retail therapy. Or maybe you just did go shopping and spent more than you should’ve. It’s okay, I got you. Today, I want to share with you some of the tricks I use to stay on track with my debt payoff plan.
Create the Pre-emptive Strike
Fortunately for me, I know what triggers my spending. Do you know yours? For instance, I always want to buy new shoes and makeup when I am sad and frustrated. Think back to when you have gone off the rails with spending. Now, create a plan on how to take care of the situation before the money gets spent. I typically tell my friends and my therapist when the urge to shop arises. We usually end up getting to the heart of the issue before I lose my grip and spend.
Who Holds You Accountable?
Many of us need someone to check in with us and be a cheerleader. This person has no gain over the debt payoff plan, they are not someone we owe money to, and most importantly, they are not our partner. Why not the partner? They are too emotionally vested, and often, they are a part of the debt payoff plan. Our partners mean well but if you start talking about a financial mistake, you all are going to disagree. No, a close friend or even a financial counselor should be your check-in companion. Talk once a week, at every paycheck, or just once a month and give them the update on how you are doing. They can congratulate you for all the tiny steps and help you figure out the hard stuff along the way.
Reward Yourself Along the Way
Setting tiny goals for paying off debt can help keep you motivated. Perhaps you take yourself out for Starbucks after a month of sticking to your budget. When you pay off each debt, a dinner out to celebrate is a great way to keep you going forward and celebrating one less debt you have to worry about.
Make Sure Your Debt Payoff Plan is Reasonable
Sometimes we mean well but we set ourselves up for disaster. It’s okay, we are human! The one thing everyone has to do with a budget and debt payoff plan is to make it realistic. My best recommendation is to seek out a non-profit financial organization in your area for help. I did this and they were able to point out some things I had not considered, like an emergency fund, when trying to correct my financial woes. I took classes and workshops, all free, and have gotten a hold of my finances.
Remember, mistakes, and unforeseen situations will happen. Don’t beat yourself up and most importantly, don’t quit the payoff plan. Regroup, forgive yourself, and revise the plan. Get back on the wagon, and you will do just fine.