Making a financial turnaround and getting out of debt is likely to take a long time- I am faced with several years to pay off my non-mortgage debt and probably more than 10 years to be completely debt free. Seeing that long time span when I want to badly to be out of debt now can feel overwhelming or disheartening at times. I have found the best way to overcome those negative feelings is to make a visual debt reminder and look at it daily.
I have my budget spreadsheet for tracking debt that I look at regularly (above). I have this website with my debt snowball published for the whole world to see. I also have a white board on the refrigerator at home where I keep my total debt remaining and the amount I have paid down since starting this financial turnaround. It’s a safe bet that you will see your refrigerator each day and this is a great way to keep your goals in sight. You could even just write your numbers on a piece of paper and tape it to the refrigerator. You could easily take that down if you don’t want family and friends to see it. I would recommend leaving it up though, I think it could open the door for some interesting conversations. However, I must admit that no one who has been in my house since I put up the white board has asked about it. 🙂
The most important thing I have learned about setting and tracking goals is to write them down and review them regularly. I can really feel the power of this concept at work when it comes to my visual debt reminder. You need to be reminded daily about why you are making the sacrifices you are making and where those sacrifices will get you some day if you stick with them. Walking out the door each morning knowing that I have X amount of debt left to pay off is a great reminder. At the same time, I don’t want to feel buried by the debt so I also take the time to look at the amount of debt I have paid off so far. Without seeing these numbers daily I think it would be very easy for me to make excuses or get lazy and fall behind on my progress.
9 Steps to Get Out of Debt
- # 1 Stop Borrowing Money
- # 2 (a) Why You Should Make a Budget
- # 2 (b) How to Make a Budget
- # 3 Turn Your Junk Into Cash
- # 4 Create an Emergency Fund
- # 5 Live Below Your Means
- # 6 Track Your Spending and Update Your Budget
- # 7 Visual Reminders to Track Your Debt
- # 8 Make Yourself Accountable
- # 9 Be Patient and Don’t Give Up