10 Strategies To Help You Succeed When You’re Getting Out Of Debt

10 strategies to help you succeed with debtThis is a post from the awesome blogger, Natalie, from The Finance Girl!

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

– Mahatma Gandhi

When you’re trying to get out of debt and you still have the same thinking that got you into debt, you’re going to lose.

You got into the debt because you think a certain way. And that same way of thinking isn’t going to help you get out of debt because it’s what got you into the debt in the first place. To get out of debt, you have to think differently. Why? Because wanting to get out of debt isn’t enough. You have to believe it, think it, act on it, make a habit of it, and value it, in order to make it your destiny. No one said getting out of debt would be easy, but you can implement new thinking that will help make the process easier.

So, how do you go about doing this? Think about your debt. Acknowledge it. Determine and address exactly what choices you made that got you into debt. Then commit to getting out of debt. Once you’re committed to getting out of debt as your goal and you know why you want to be debt free, you’re on your way to starting your journey. The next best thing you can do is help make the journey easier. These 10 tips will help you recondition your thinking so that you have supportive thoughts that lead to supportive actions and habits that will help you get out of debt.

10 Strategies To Help You Succeed When You’re Getting Out Of Debt

 

  1. Prioritize. Clearly define your priorities. Do this by making a list, in order, from highest to lowest of all your priorities. Try to prioritize your debt as high as you can on your priorities list. Aside from the essentials of family and living expenses, consciously make getting out of debt the highest priority you can. It’s easier to focus on one goal at a time, so if you can, make getting out of debt your main goal that you’ll prioritize until you’re deft free. By prioritizing, you’ll also know when it’s okay to make choices that are not in line with your debt pay off plan (specifically, when they are higher on your list).
  2. Focus. Focus on getting out of debt. When you have too much going on, you can’t put enough energy and commitment into one thing. Try to minimize your focus on other things, and have laser focus on paying off your debt. One of the best life hacks is that what you focus on expands. If you focus on getting out of debt, you’ll make it happen.
  3. Stop unsupportive habits. Look carefully at what got you into debt and think about your habits when it comes to money. Stop doing anything that is unsupportive of your debt pay off plan. For example, if you’re in the habit of buying a coffee every morning, think about how that extra money would speed up your debt pay off plan over time. And do this for several things to see the compounding effect (drinks, dining out, shopping, etc.). Stop anything you can that’s unsupportable of your goal.
  4. Start new, supportive habits. Do what you can do decrease your expenses and increase your income. Start “frugaling”. Meaning, start watching everything you buy and begin to cut your expenses. Additionally, find ways to increase your income, like selling things online or picking up a side job. Do whatever you can to increase your income and cut expenses.
  5. Avoid your weakness. Avoid whatever it is that is your main weakness. Only you know exactly what this is. For me, its clothes (which is why I don’t have a credit card). It will be different for you. But do whatever you have to in order to avoid your weakness while you’re getting out of debt.
  6. Be alert to red flags. When you encounter something that would go against your plan to get out of debt, immediately ask yourself what is the higher priority. Be alert and hesitant toward anything that isn’t supportive of your plan. This includes being very thoughtful about how you spend your money.
  7. Know that every purchase counts. Begin thinking that every purchase counts – no matter how small it is. Pennies add up so much faster than you’d think. Your $1-$10 purchases can have a tremendous impact on your get out of debt plan. Don’t be fooled into thinking small purchases are insignificant.
  8. Say “no” to yourself at least once day. When you make a purchase because you “deserve it”, you’re supporting an entitlement attitude. Whether you deserve something has nothing to do with whether you can afford it. Start saying “no” to yourself at least once day so that you are less likely to justify and spend because you think you deserve something.
  9. Celebrate small wins. Every time you pay off a small loan or debt that takes you to the next step in your get out of debt plan, celebrate. Treat yourself in a small way so you can feel the excitement of accomplishing your goals. Not only do you deserve it, but you will get momentum and positive reinforcement to keep going.
  10. Constantly keep your vision and goal in mind. Every morning and every night say to yourself why you want to get out of debt and what getting out of debt would make possible for you. This will be a constant reminder of your plan (keeping you focused), and it will set you up with a supportive mindset.

Getting out of debt can seem overwhelming, but the reward is priceless. Finding ways to think differently in order to support your goal and your overall vision for your life are integral to making the process easier. Hopefully, these tips provide you with alternative strategies to make getting out of debt slightly less painful. And I hope that they help create beliefs, thoughts, actions, habits, and values that support a debt free destiny for you.

Natalie BaconNatalie Bacon is the author of Financegirl, where she blogs about finance and intentional living for young, professional women. She’s an attorney by day and a personal finance freelance writer and blogger by night. You can join her as she digs her way out of student loan debt on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.

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About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

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22 comments
moneystepper says November 11

Keeping the “why” in the forefront of your mind at all times is absolutely essential to completing the journey. If you can quickly refer to the reasons why you want to get out of debt, you will find it much much easier to resist the temptations that could distract you from achieving your goals.

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    Natalie says November 11

    Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. And that goes for any goal really – keeping the “why” in mind is critical!

    Reply
Mrs. Frugalwoods says November 11

I like #7 a lot–you’re so right that everything adds up! It’s easy to think that a dollar or five here or there doesn’t matter, but it does in the long run. That’s why I like reviewing every expenditure at the end of the month. It’s so enlightening to track all those little expenses over time. And, tracking can lead to changing habits for the better!

Reply
    Natalie says November 11

    Absolutely! That $3 drink turns into $30 on drinks real fast!

    Reply
Shannon @ Financially Blonde says November 11

I think keeping your goals in mind is huge and if you have a large amount of debt, it is going to be a long process for paying it down and it’s easy to lose site of your goals the longer you are on the debt repayment journey. Sometimes you almost have to force little resets to make sure that you reset with your goals as a priority.

Reply
    Natalie says November 11

    I think having little mini celebrations can be helpful with large debt pay off. Maybe every $10k you celebrate in some way. Keeping those rewards coming will certainly help keep your focus and motivation on your debt repayment.

    Reply
Jenna says November 11

I love #9 – small wins. I love big wins too, but if I get some small wins in I feel so motivated that the big wins happen too.

Reply
    Natalie says November 11

    Exactly! And with debt repayment those small wins do a lot to keep you motivated and positive throughout the whole process.

    Reply
EL @ MoneyWatch101 says November 11

These tips are the best to help anyone become debt free. Its all about changing your behaviors first, and then you will succeed with shedding debt. Its a long process, but if you stay focused as the post suggests you can achieve anything.

Reply
    Natalie says November 11

    Absolutely. Staying focused and changing your mindset will take you very far in terms of debt pay off. I know it’s done wonders for me personally with repaying my student loans.

    Reply
Derrick horvath says November 11

Oh man, avoiding the weaknesses. That’s hard. I’m a tech junkie. Back in college and even the few years after I had to have whatever new tech came out (early adopter). But since getting married my priorities have shifted (#1) and my wife has helped me kill that habit (#3). We now give ourselves a weekly cash allowance and only purchase what we have in our cash balances, so I save for my tech now instead of putting it on credit cards like I did years ago.

Reply
Natalie says November 11

I like the cash allowance idea. Only recently have I really begun to completely avoid my weakness (clothes). I think a monthly cash allowance (actual cash in hand) may be the way to go for me with shopping.

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Sarah says November 11

Love this!! I completely agree with staying away from whatever your weakness is! I can go to a mall regularly and not buy anything – but take me to a “home” store and I can’t leave without something! I’m also realizing that driving around my “dream” neighborhoods is not always the best thing to do when we have a long-term plan in place before we get there!

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    Natalie says November 11

    It’s so true, isn’t it?! We all have our weaknesses and they’re different for each and every one of us! Like you trying to avoid those neighborhood trips, now I even avoid browsing my favorite stores online. Removing the temptation of your weakness is incredibly powerful, in my opinion.

    Reply
Laurie @wellkeptwallet says November 11

Natalie, LOVE this list. Covers all of the bases regarding debt payoff, and importantly, the pitfalls. We use most all of these as we work to pay off our debt.

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    Natalie says November 11

    Thank you, Laurie! I find each of them truly helpful in different ways as I’m on my debt payoff journey, too.

    Reply
MoneyMiniBlog says November 11

This is a great list to help people basically trim everything away and focus on their debt. When my wife and I got out of debt, it took about 2 years of living in a 700 sq ft mobile home and driving older cars, etc. It was all worth it since we don’t owe anything to anyone now. It’s an amazing feeling. 🙂

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    Natalie says November 11

    Exactly. Intense focus combined with implementing supportive habits is the key to success.

    Reply
John @ Wise Dollar says November 12

Love this list Natalie! As others have said I couldn’t agree more with the goal aspect. I wrote a few weeks back about needing to have a goal attached to why you’re trying to make more money – meaning it’s easy to give up if it’s just for the sake of making more. However, if you attach a goal or purpose to it then it becomes a much stronger pull to continue when you’re tempted to give up. Debt is no different in my opinion. If you attach a why and what you want when out of debt you instantly make that pull to get out from it stronger.

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    Natalie says November 12

    Exactly, John! I absolutely think you have to have the “why” (vision) and “what” (goal) for just about everything. I also wrote an entire post about this that I just published in The Huffington Post. I think it makes all the difference!

    Reply
Tanya says November 13

you really don’t really how much a dollar here and there adds up!! I was shocked the first time I actually took the time to look at where my money was going. Great tips!

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Chris says November 27

Getting out of debt is not impossible , as you said you need to prioritize your spending. Getting out of debt might take some time more than expected, but consistent hard work towards paying debt will definitely reward you with debt free life.

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