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Keeping Motivated to Become Debt-Free

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You can have all of the advice and all of the debt-fighting tools out there, but they will not mean one thing without motivation and determination. You have to finally decide that you want to become debt-free and you are ready to commit to making that dream a reality.

But how can you keep motivated?

Some people are more naturally motivated than others. If you are they type of person that is having troubles getting yourself in the right frame of mind to become debt-free, here are some ways I have found help keep the motivation strong.

1.) Start a Blog! Having your financial situation out there for all to see has created a sense of accountability for me, even though it is anonymous. The last thing I want to do is to write how I spent my tax return on a huge HDTV that we really didn’t need (although, I admit – it is sooooo tempting). There are also comments that others leave that can make you feel like a million dollars, like one I received on this post.

2.) Read Personal Stories About Others Fighting Debt. Not only can you pick up some great tips that may work for you, you will also be able to follow someone’s story and share in the good times as well as the bad times. A great place to find personal finance blogs to read is pfblogs.org.

3.) Read and/or Join Message Boards. There are some great message boards out there for reducing your debt. Not only will you find some great information, message boards can be a place to “sound-off” when things are getting rough. There are many people in the world, and finding someone in a similar situation can help wonders if you stick together.

4.) Keeping Track of Your Debt Balances. There’s a big difference in knowing you have debt versus being actually being able to see the concrete numbers in front of you. It may come as a shock when you see that grand total, but it’s something you need to do. As you start paying off debt – keep making reports that show the progress you are making. Seeing the progress can help add “motivation fuel.”

5.) Add Up All of Your Monthly Finance Charges. Look at that number – that is the cost of your debt. That is all money that you would have if you were debt-free. There are many other things I would rather be doing with that money. Let that amount motivate you to reduce it to zero.

6.) Add Up All of Your Monthly Minimum Payments on Your Debt. For me, this was a HUGE eye-opener. After seeing all of the money that I have to use every month to pay debt, I realized that there is a very large chunk of money that could be used for other things, like perhaps saving for retirement someday or getting health insurance. The things that we just can’t afford right now because of all of our monthly debt payments. Use it to fuel your motivation and determination because there are other things in life you want to do.

7.) Try Not to Get Depressed. Depression is a big motivation-buster, but it is so easy to go into when your debt is making your life miserable. I still get depressed sometimes, and when I am I do not go shopping and I just stay away from financial decisions while depressed. Then, work on feeling better by focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t have.

8.) Allow Yourself Mistakes!! No one in this world is perfect, and we are all bound to make mistakes. We just have to figure out what went wrong then pick ourselves up and keep going. Learn from your mistakes and try not to dwell on them. Use them as motivation, because once you make a mistake and learn from it – it won’t be made again. Look at the positive side of your mistake.

And here are a few motivators for those with lower incomes like myself:

9.) Don’t Compare Lifestyles. It may seem like all of the stories you read in the media about debt success stories are for families with larger incomes. To fight debt they have eliminated expenses such as landscaping or trading in their expensive SUV’s. They do have more discretionary spending to cut. It’s hard, but do not focus on that! Rather, just look at the success story behind it and how they were motivated to make a change in their life. The goal to become debt-free is what binds us all together. Share in their success and keep yourself heading towards your goal.

10.) Realize How Strong You Are!!! When you have a lower income, you do have to go about reducing your debt differently and have to forgo what some consider “necessities”. Just remember that every time you lower your heat to 60 degrees during the day or everytime you purchased used clothing instead of new – you are really showing how STRONG YOU ARE!! If I could, I would visit every one of you that are having a hard time seeing this in yourself and I would be your personal cheerleader. Why? Because it is so true! You are already very strong, and already have the potential to move mountains. Get motivated and determined to become debt-free. You CAN and WILL do it!!

Now, with all of these ways to get motivated – let’s get to it everyone. Let’s become DEBT-FREE!!!!!!!

Post featured at the Carnival of Debt Reduction #32 at Consumerism Commentary.
Technorati Tags: motivation, debt+reduction, debt+free

I Spoke To Soon …

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I wrote that beautiful post about praising our car, and my husband comes home from picking up my son from school. “Hey Dear…” he yells up to my office, “the check engine light came on in the car.”

Oh, crud.

In the past for all of our vehicles, the check engine light coming on meant needing a small part replaced that cost a lot of money. Of course, I hope this time will be different, and I am going to try my hardest NOT to put the expense on a credit card.

Really though, there are a million other things my husband could have said when he came home. Among them being in an accident or someone getting hurt.

You know what, the car repair will be a small hurdle to get by before being able to pay more towards the credit card debt. But when I think of what my husband could have said (and didn’t), I feel pretty darn rich.

It’s always good to keep that in mind.