In June of 2017, I made the decision to go on a debt journey and start paying off debt. I was tired of making minimum payments and living paycheck to paycheck. I did not know how, but I knew I wanted to get out of debt. In reality, it took me until August of 2017 to get serious and get a handle of my debt journey.
In reality, it took me until August of 2017 to get serious and tackle my debt. In the early months, I still had the mindset of pretty much doing whatever I wanted with my money. After picking up a part-time job, I knew I was not taking paying off my debt seriously because even with an extra paycheck I still had nothing to show for it.
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So in August of 2017, I knew that if I was serious about paying off debt. The days of saying I’m on a debt journey just to say it was over. It was time to put my words into action. Below are the following tips and steps I took to help with tackle my debt when I was struggling.
STRUGGLING WITH PAYING OFF DEBT TIPS
1) Reaccess Your Game Plan
When I first went on my debt journey back in June the only game plan I had was how to pay off my debt. I did not realize pay off debt required so many more sacrifices. In August I realized having a plan to pay off debt was not going to be enough. I needed to make a budget, start cooking more and stop shopping.
Before I was paying on my minimum payments and guessing an amount of money I should use for food, gas, and etc. Once I realized that I was still managing to be broke at the end of each month and having to take $25-$50 dollars out of my savings/emergency fund each month. By reaccess my monthly bills, creating a budget, and making a few more sacrifices I was able to get a handle on my debt again. Learn how to I create my budget and download your free budget sheet when you click this link.
Once I reaccess my game plan and fine-tuned it to better help me tackle my debts. I felt more confident about the reality of being debt free.
2) Freeze & Delete Credit Cards
If you are struggling to pay off debt freezing or deleting credit card information from your laptop and phone will help.
I was guilty of using my credit cards even after declaring I am paying off debt. It was not until both of them got below on $100 balance and I got a reminder e-mail that interest on my newest card would kick in the month of November. It was then I decided to go ahead freeze my cards and delete the saved information from my laptop.
Note: I found the best way to freeze your cards is to get a ziplock bag place and place your card in it along with ice cubes. The full the bag up with water to fill in the gaps. This makes it even harder, if not impossible, to read the numbers off your card and therefore, you will have to defrost the chunk of ice before your card can be used.
2) Use Cash
The thing about using a debit card is that it becomes extremely easy to lose track of what you are spending your money on. Not to mention if your bank does not update your funds immediately you can quickly fall into the habit of thinking you have money that you really do not.
After being honest with myself I decided to stop using my debit card (only to pay bills) and only use cash. I even went a step further and started incorporating the envelope method to keep me from dipping into other designated funds. You can read all about the envelope method here.
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3) Debt Snowball Calculator
Seeing is believing, I decided to download a debt snowball calculator so that I can visually see the progress I make as I pay down debt. One of the greatest joys was randomly plugging in extra payments and see how much it calculated the average time it would take me to pay off debt.
The debt snowball calculator I am using is an app downloaded from the Apple store called Debt Payoff Assistant.
Here is a snapshot of my current debt payoff:
4) Slow Down
One of the biggest struggles I was going through while trying to pay off my debts was wanting to put this large chunk of money on my debts. I had read so many debt inspiration stories of people paying off debts within 6 months to a year, that I felt like I should do the same. But doing this was causing me extreme anxiety and stress.
Once I realized that any amount of extra payment is better than nothing, I knew that I can slow down. Being on a debt journey should help ease the financial stress pains not grow on them. Learning that a debt journey is not a race, but a marathon really helps me slow down and enjoy the process.
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5) Don’t Deprive Yourself
Just because you are on a debt journey does not mean you have to deprive yourself of things you enjoy. In the beginning, I was not budgeting money for things I enjoyed and forcing myself to go on no spending month challenges month after month. In short, always felt as though I was a victim to my debt. Therefore, I decided to make the decision to set money aside for the things I enjoyed.