Is This Missing in Your Plan to Get Out of Debt and Become Debt Free?
By Julie Jaggernath
If you want to become debt free, you’ve probably read all the tips about how to get out of debt fast on your own. And you follow as many as you can. You track how you spend your money, budget and save, yet you still aren’t reaching your goals. It can be hard to take a step back and figure out what else you could or shouldn’t be doing, so think about it this way: if a good friend came to you and they were in the same position you are in right now, what advice would you give them?
Start by Using a Budget & Debt Calculator to Get an Overview
The first step, before making any changes at all, is to use a debt calculator as well as a budget calculator to see where you’re at. This helps determine what is and isn’t working. If you know you can’t do this yourself, ask a trusted friend for help or contact us and we’ll set up a free appointment (no obligation) for you to do this with one of our Credit Counsellors.
- For your household budget, get a bird’s eye perspective of where you stand by using an interactive budget spreadsheet that will give you advice and suggestions as you fill in your details.
- Then look at your debts with a debt calculator. It can summarize what you owe, how long it will take you to pay your debts off, and how much interest you’ll pay along the way.
- If you’re enthusiastic about seeing all of your possibilities, try this savings calculator too!
After you’ve got a better perspective about where you stand right now, what else could you do? What is missing and holding your back from reaching your goals?
Factor Motivation in When Setting a Goal to Tackle Debt
When tackling debt, there is one crucial ingredient that most people overlook and it boils down to motivation; more specifically how you are motivated. Without going into too much psychobabble, think about motivation and success: where do you get your motivation?
- Is it something that comes from within? It doesn’t matter what others say or do, in fact, what they do might just motivate you more. If this is you, personal effort matters. A lot. When you’re faced with life’s challenges, you thrive, and use them to learn and grow.
- Or are you motivated by what happens around you? Every situation becomes a test; either you’ll win or lose, look smart or dumb, fit in or be rejected. If this is you, you live with the hand you’ve been dealt, trying to succeed by making others believe that your hand is better than it really is. When you’re faced with bumps in the road, you get through them because the road continues up ahead whether you’re ready for it or not.
So what does where our motivation comes from have to do with paying off debt and becoming debt free? As it turns out; it could be a lot.
Viewing Debt as “Normal” Can Hold You Back
In an age where being in debt is considered “normal,” it becomes very easy to finance the lifestyle you want, to keep up an image so that others accept you, and to make others believe that your life is as great as the highlights you share on social media. This ‘fixed mindset’ all but kills your productivity because it means that you spend time telling others how great you are, when you could be using the time to improve yourself and where you stand in relation to your financial goals.
Think about it this way: if you had to write down everything you did in a day, would you get as much done? For anyone who works where it takes longer to document what you’ve done than to actually do the work, you know what a productivity killer that can be.
With the Right Mindset You’ll Feel Motivated to Work on Achieving Your Goals
When you use your time to improve yourself, you have a ‘growth mindset’. It spurs motivation and productivity and you focus on working hard and reaching your goals. With a growth mindset you believe that a key ingredient to success is personal effort. What other people think is less important to you than it is for someone with a fixed mindset.
Make Money Decisions for the Right Reasons
Not feeling like you have anything to prove is missing from most people’s plans to becoming debt free. You need to make your money decisions based on what’s best for you and your household, not because you’re worried about someone else’s opinion. In other words, until someone steps in and agrees to make your car loan payments for you, they don’t get to determine how much you spend on buying the car.
What to Do When Temptation Strikes
Because we’re human, thoughts that sidetrack us from working to reach our goals get in the way of success. For instance, when it comes to our money, some of the temptations we face every day include impulse spending triggers, pressures from a partner or spouse who has different values and spending habits than we have, or family expectations around what we “should” be spending our money on.
It happens to everyone, so how you handle de-motivating thoughts is what matters. Do you give in to temptation, e.g. I’m already in so much debt, what’s a little bit more? Or does temptation motivate you to find ways to stick to your plans, e.g. I know if I go to that store I’ll be tempted to buy something I don’t really need, so I’ll go work out instead?
The good news is that everyone can learn and grow, and turn temptation spending around. Motivation comes from within; others can inspire, bribe, encourage or even threaten you, but only you can decide if what they do or don’t do gets you moving and motivated.
A Complete Plan to Get Out of Debt & Become Debt Free Might Need Extra Help
To get out of debt and become debt free don’t underestimate the importance of how you’re motivated. You shouldn’t feel like you have anything to prove to anyone other than yourself. Be realistic, and stick to doing what you know works for you. And if you need help figuring out what that might be, we’re happy to help you. Contact us by phone, email or anonymous online chat to make an appointment. One of our Credit Counsellors will be happy to review your whole financial situation with you. They will answer your questions and even give you the guidance and information you need to pay off your debts on your own (DIY), if that’s what you want to do. Appointments are free and confidential; give us a call. You have nothing to lose but your debt.