When you’re ready to tackle the process of how to get rid of debt quickly, you’ll need to establish some habits to make sure it sticks. Use these ideas to win the fight.
Figuring out how to get rid of debt requires three things: passion, determination, and a willingness to completely change your life.
You know you’ve got the passion when getting out of debt is all you think about. Your friends and family know about the big goal, and they sometimes mention it when you’re together. “How’s the big plan going?” or “Do you want to just come to my place instead of meeting at the bar?”
Side note: if you’ve got friends and family that are supportive like this, be sure to hold on to them tight!
A sign of the right kind of determination is when you surprise yourself by saying “no” to something you usually spend money on automatically. Because you’re determined to get that debt free life you know you deserve far more than any impulse buy.
Determination is a tricky beast. Sometimes it runs smoothly on its own. But sometimes you’ll have to take the wheel and steer it back on track. (“No, no, Determination! Remember, we’re heading this way…out of debt!”)
If you have your passion and determination firmly in place, the willingness to change your life will often follow. But what does that look like, exactly?
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11 Habits You’ll Need When Getting Rid of Debt Yourself
Establishing these 11 habits in your daily (or weekly) life will help you see a clear path to get out of debt. Even if some of them seem scary, power through.
After all, the same ol’, same ol’ daily routine is what got you into debt.
1. Take It With You
Food and drinks, that is. You do need them to survive. And that’s exactly what you’ll tell yourself when you drive past your favorite coffee place.
Instead of giving in to that little devil on your shoulder, make the angel choice more appealing. If you already have easy snacks and drinks with you in the car as you run errands, it’ll be easy to take care of your cravings on your own.
Hint: you can probably find a copycat recipe for your favorite iced coffee drink on Pinterest and make it yourself at a fraction of the drive thru cost.
2. Attitude of Gratitude
Learning to be grateful for the small things in life can lesson depression and increase happiness (source). But it can also help you pay off debt.
Take time every day to appreciate the things you already have. This will help you deal with the “fear of missing out” and “keeping up with the Joneses”. Knowing intimately how many blessings you already have will help you realize that you don’t need as much “stuff” as you might think.
3. Quit the Clearance Racks
I’m going to buck the popular trend that tells you to shop the clearance racks to be considered frugal. Because lurking on those shelves of bright orange stickers are a lot of pretty things you didn’t even know you needed!
Don’t get me wrong. If you honestly have to have that set of markers for the school project (You really don’t have any at home somewhere? You can’t borrow some?) then try the clearance shelves first. But don’t let yourself carry anything but markers away from there.
It’s a trap!
4. Shop With Intention
So you’ve decided there’s no way around it. You have to buy a widget. Instead of running to your favorite widget store, start by shopping secondhand.
Don’t even go into thrift stores without a list in hand. Keep your mind focused on widgets. If you start wandering aisles, you’re sure to pick up a couple of extra bargains.
But remember, you want to get out of debt way more than you want more bargains!
5. Be Confident
If you’ve lived with credit card debt for a long time, it’ll be hard to break that habit. Especially if you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t live without it.
Remember that you have more abilities than you think! If you’re convinced that living without credit cards will cause bounced checks, bring in some extra cash to get you over the hump. Sell things or get a part time job.
Sometimes, the simple act of doing something outside your comfort zone will give you the confidence you need to pay off debt.
6. Use the Right Tools
You wouldn’t try to put a screw in the wall with a pair of pliers. So don’t try to get out of debt without these tools.
- budget tracker (Personal Capital makes this easy.)
- extra bank accounts (You can open free online accounts. We love Capital One 360!)
- money saving charts or graphs that show your progress
- debt snowball tool
7. Make Phone Calls
I know you’d prefer to text, but that doesn’t handle everything. Set aside time to make calls, even if you hate doing it. Listening to muzak on hold is worth it when it saves you:
- late fees (request they get waived)
- annual fees (ditto)
- lower interest rates on credit card balances
- a better price on insurance than your old company
- and more
8. Get Creative
Find solutions for problems without spending money. Borrow things from friends and family if you only need it for a short time. Reuse the trifold from last year’s project for the new project assigned this year.
Learn to be flexible, and be willing to try new things. Because doing it the same old way is going to get you the same old results.
9. Know What You Want the Most
Remember that passion we talked about? You’re going to need it when paying off debt. Especially if there’s a lot of it!
Keep reminders around so you always know why you’re doing this. Remember the sinking feeling of high minimum payments you aren’t sure you can manage. You never want to feel that again!
Or keep photos of your dream vacation destination close by. When you see that picture, it’ll remind you that all of this work is worth it.
10. Accountability: Don’t Skip This One!
You need a way to stay accountable. Weekly check ins are the key to changing your life.
Have meetings with an accountability partner. Ideally this would be your spouse or a supportive friend. If you can’t find that, join an online community of people that share your goal.
11. Plan Ahead
Being caught off guard can be expensive. It means grabbing expensive cupcakes from the store rather than making a box of brownies. Or throwing cash in a card rather than buying a good gift at half the price.
When you’ve got a lot to juggle, it’s easy to let things slip by you. But getting it down on paper can make a big difference.
So I created a fun daily planner to help you keep up with everything! Make seven copies on Sunday evening, and plan out your week in a few minutes. You’ll know what’s coming up and be ready for it.
Don’t just sit there and let life happen to you! Paying off debt is mostly about practicing good habits.
My subscribers have free access to this printable. If you love saving money, join over 1,000 people who get the Medium Sized Family newsletter each week. It’s totally free, and I always keep it short and sweet so you get the most bang for your time.
Which of these habits have you already tried?