Completing your debt payoff plan often requires an almost insane level of commitment. It’s easy to get discouraged when you realize the amount of time and sacrifice it takes to see significant results. Sticking to your debt payoff plan might be tough at times, but if you remain dedicated and are consistent with payments, you can reach your goal. Here are some tips that can help you stick to your debt payoff plan.
1. Make Sure Your Debt Payoff Plan Is Realistic
It’s impossible to stick to a debt payoff plan that was never realistic, to begin with. If you’ve overestimated the amount you can pay or underestimated the amount of time it will take, you might be tempted to throw in the towel. The plan you start out with may not work for your entire debt journey. Readjusting along the way will ensure you have a plan based on your changing financial situation.
Take a look at your current income and expenses to calculate the amount you can really afford to put toward your debt each month. You can—and should—pay more when you can, but create your plan based on the amount you can reliably and realistically pay each month.
Use a debt payoff calculator to estimate the time it will take to pay off your debt based on your monthly payment. Note that paying more will allow you to pay off your debt sooner while paying less or creating more debt will increase the time it will take to pay off your debt.
2. Put Your Plan in Writing
Don’t rely on your memory to keep up with your debt plan. Putting your debt plan in writing increases the likelihood that you’ll achieve it. For one, writing down your plan is a way of committing to it. (And yes, the simple act of writing down your plan signals to your brain that you really want to get out of debt.)
You don’t need a complicated plan—and you shouldn’t overcomplicate it to the point that it’s hard to stick to. All you need to do is write down your debts, the due date, the minimum payment, and the additional payment that you’re going to make to just one of your debts. Paying a lump sum on one debt and the minimum on everything else is the most effective way to pay off your debt.
Once you’ve put your plan in ink, put it in a place that you can refer to it often. Adjust your plan as you pay off debts or you’re able to consistently pay more toward your debt each month.