Ugh. Posts like this, amiright?
The one thing you need to pay off your debt is to want to pay off your debt more than most other things.
I’m sorry if you thought it was going to be some kind of magical tree in the middle of this one forest that’s actually really near your house…
It’s hard to pay off debt. Like, really hard.
The problem is, it’s only when something awful happens that you actually think ‘crap, I really need to get my schizz together.’
Don’t wait for that, though. Imagine that you or your SO lost your job tomorrow. How long could you survive without that cash? Probably not as long as you’d want. LEARN FROM THE COUNTLESS MISTAKES OF OTHERS (including me. You’re welcome).
Money leads to options. You could view the layoff as a good thing – you now have the chance to pursue your true passion. However, if you have a lot of credit card debt and no savings, you’ll have to take whatever crappy job comes up.
The ridiculous thing is, once you get into the habit if not spending every penny you earn, it feels great. Seeing your savings grow or your debt being slashed is AWESOME – waaaay better than spending your pay packet knocking back pornstar martinis (delicious though they are).
I don’t actually have much of a structure for this post.
I’m just wanted to hammer home the importance of wanting to save money or pay down debt over wanting arbitrary crap from Superdrug/Primark/Vodka Rev. Unfortunately, there’s no way to describe how good it feels to have a few quid in the bank so that your slowly dying car isn’t weighing too heavily on your mind, without sounding like a real arsehole.
It feels good though (pleasepassyourmotpleasepassyourmotpleasepassyourmot).
*Update* she failed. And not even just a little bit. As a result, our savings have been looted and we have a very grown up Ford Mondeo. We love her but having to spend the money? Not so much.
So, how can we get you motivated?
Well, there’s Pinterest, obvs. There are are loads of awesome personal finance bloggers that pop all their stuff on Pinterest so you can peruse it at your leisure. I (shameless plug) have a board all about debt right here if you fancy giving that a quick follow.
I actually find the area of personal finance fairly motivating in itself. If you start by making yourself a simple budget – write down what you bring in, take off what goes out and see what’s left – then work out how to save money. There are so many ways to get started – you can save on food utilities, entertainment…you can start a little competition against yourself.
The biggest step is probably the first one
Maybe not for saving money, but definitely for paying off debt. You need to know how much you owe, however scary. Then consult your budget and see if you can spare any money to add to your payments.
Remember the one thing you need to pay off debt, though. Don’t pay off more than you can afford and leave yourself short in other places. You also need to promise yourself not to take on any more debt. Don’t give yourself such a tight budget that you stop wanting to pay off your debt.
Pay off one debt at a time (make minimum payments on the others). Every time you pay one off, add the payment to the next one, creating a debt snowball. Consistency is key because it’s habit forming – after a little while, you won’t begrudge spending your beer money to your creditors because that’s just what you do. You won’t even think about it (provided you’re not living out of other people’s bins – there’s definitely a balance to be had).
I wish there was an easy answer to getting out of debt, but I’m afraid it just starts with a strong desire to be debt free. And the ability to keep on keeping on. I strongly recommend connecting with other people in your situation – follow them on Twitter and Pinterest, join some Facebook groups. I recommend From Pennies to Pounds and Emma Drew, but there are loads more.
If nothing else, it won’t be forever. Start now and you’ll be finished quicker. If you’re able, spend an afternoon working out the exact date you’ll be debt free/have reached your savings goal. Note in a diary. Plan a celebration. Vow never to get into debt again. Go and live life.
Oh, one last thing money savers…
…don’t be tempted to wait until a more ‘practical’ to sort your finances out. I am QUEEN of this. I won’t start exercising until I’ve bought new trainers, even though there’s actually nothing stopping me from going for a long, brisk walk. You could wait forever waiting for a pay rise, or a better paying job or whatever. Start NOW. Put a penny in a jar. There, you’ve started. WELL DONE YOU.
If you seriously have no idea where to start, sign up for my free ecourse. There should be a bar along the bottom of the screen, but I’ll pop this sign up form in anyway:
I’ll send you a series of 5 emails every other day. There’ll be tasks and tips to help to get an overview of how everything looks financially. If you complete the course and are terrified by the results, please feel free to email me, and I’ll see how I can help you – even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on or for me to make you delete your Amazon account.