Did you make a New Year’s resolution last month to pay off your debt, only to find yourself slipping back into old habits halfway into the month? Paying off debt is undoubtedly difficult, but it can be done, and even if you’ve started to slip backward, it isn’t too late in the year to renew your resolution to pay off debt. Here is a look at some great ways that you can renew your resolve to pay off your existing debt.
Become familiar with debt terminology
One reason that debt seems to be such a difficult animal to tackle is that the world of debt can be extremely confusing. Build a stronger understanding of debt by familiarizing yourself with some of the most frequently used debt-related terms, such as those defined in this article about debt terminology. Once you’ve gained a stronger fluency in the language of debt, it won’t seem like such an intimidating thing to tackle.
Take one small step each day
Decide now that you will do one small thing each day that will help you realize your goal of becoming debt-free—keeping in mind that you’ll only ever need enough willpower to do that one small thing each day. You might on one day work for an extra hour if it means making more money to put towards paying off your debt, and on another day you might list some old household items up on eBay for selling. Create a list of go-to things you can do as your “small steps.” Here are a few additional ideas to get you started:
- Switch to a difference insurance provider, cable provider, etc. who offers you a better rate.
- Make a meal or two in bulk and store the leftovers in your freezer for easy meal prep during the coming weeks (thus reducing your temptation to eat out.)
- Clip coupons for the next time you plan on grocery shopping (being sure only to clip coupons for things that you would be buying anyway.)
- Walk, ride your bike, or share a ride somewhere rather than drive.
Spend less time around those who influence you to spend
Sometimes we have good intentions and a strong motivation to stick to our budgets, but then we end up spending time around others whose budgets aren’t nearly so tight. These people may not at all be negative influences in our lives, but we can feel pressured to “keep up” with them spending-wise when we go out to eat or go shopping with them. If you find that when you spend time around certain people you’re more likely to blow your budget, consider spending less time around those people—or at least changing up what you do when you spend time together. And as this article details, if there are people in your life who are simply negative drains on you and your wellbeing, it might be best to distance yourself from them completely.
Change your routine
This article about keeping New Year’s resolutions makes a great point about changing up your routine—sometimes it’s absolutely necessary for getting you out of old habits. If on the way home from work every day you drive past your favorite boutique or quick-serve café, and you often feel tempted to stop by on the way home, try changing the route you take home from work every day. If you have a habit of shopping online in bed on your laptop just before heading to sleep each night, try leaving your laptop in another room at night. Or if certain TV shows that you watch encourage you to spend more money than you need to on things like fashion or home renovations, then maybe it’s time to switch up what you’ve been tuning into.
Start an emergency fund
This one doesn’t sound appealing to many who are focusing on paying off outstanding credit card debt because it involves cutting out a portion of your budget for something that you won’t see an immediate benefit for. But consider it this way: using money from an emergency fund to pay for a car repair will likely be a lot easier than paying off a credit card you use to pay for a car repair later.