Getting Motivated to Pay Down Debt

As the saying goes, “Anything worthwhile is never easy.” Paying down debt or reducing your debt is no exception. Thinking about the years it will take to pay down debt is overwhelming. It’s common for people feel ashamed and upset to the point of extreme procrastination-sometimes even for years-before tackling their debt. Yet the debt only gets worse with time. We need motivation-our driving force for change.

Need Motivation to Pay Down Debt?

We’ve taught you the steps to pay down debt, but what about motivation? What can motivate us to get started? The credit counselors at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions share some ways their clients have become inspired to face their debt and modify their lifestyles

  • Watch or read inspirational personal finance experts. Suze Orman, for instance, is great at not only imparting financial advice, but also for motivating her audience. She often tells her own story about how she got started as a waitress at the Buttercup Bakery in Berkeley and shares success stories of thousands of her viewers and readers. Seeing how others were able to pay down debt is often encouraging.
  • Write down four long-range financial goals. Start a financial journal in a spiral notebook. This book can be used to track your progress, hold your feedback and to keep your eyes on the prize-your long-term financial goals. Why do you want to pay down  debt? How will doing so improve life? Do you want to buy a home or rental property? Purchase a car? Get a job that requires good credit? Put away funds to build a more secure retirement? Consider, too, life-changing goals that do not involve material objects like your child’s education, a month-long vacation to Western Europe with your spouse, or to pay off student loans.
  • Make a plan. Without a plan, it’s nearly impossible to motivate yourself to pay down debt. You know, all too well, that just wishing something to be doesn’t work. We have to make a plan-steps we can take-to move forward, out of our financial slump. Some people know how to create a household budget and pay-off plan, others can benefit from some help. Member agencies of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), such as Clearpoint, offer free credit counseling sessions where a professional will work with you to develop an action plan. Additional help can be found in many personal finance books. Scan them at a bookstore and purchase them used on or rent them from your local library.
  • Seek support. You need to find support within yourself and from family and friends. Write down in your journal why you know you can get out of debt now. Are you finally ready? Do you want your child to avoid your mistakes and learn positive money management skills? Would you like to start your next serious relationship debt free?

Next, share your plan with a few of your most supportive family members and friends and ask them for support. Friends who know you’re on a budget don’t propose you go to expensive restaurants, but invite you to dinner at their home, or to go to a matinee or for a run in the park. If you have a family member who is good with money, and who is supportive, it helps to enlist him or her.

For those who would prefer to keep their finances to themselves, debt support groups are another alternative. Surrounding yourself with others you don’t know who are committed to becoming debt-free is empowering. Ideally, members share their financial problems, discuss strategies and provide encouragement. Addressing the emotional struggle around paying down debt is just as important as making a plan. iVillage is home to an online debt support group, but many communities also host Spenders Anonymous meetings. Check with, churches, and community centers in your town for more possibilities. If privacy is important to you, you might also pay down debt with a DIY method, such as the snowball method, which also gives you confidence boosts along the way.

The strength to overcome your financial position is largely in your mind. By taking small steps to motivate yourself before beginning, you will improve your attitude and effectiveness.

Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and a system-wide accredited business with the Council of Better Business Bureaus. To speak with a consumer credit counselor for a free financial review and recommendations, consumers may call 800.750.2227 or visit our “Get Started” page.

Ready to Make a Plan?

Find out how we can help you reach your financial goals and start paying down debt.

Learn more