Deciding to get out of debt is not easy, but it is easier than actually putting in the work to be debt free. Most have a long road ahead of them with the average American in 2018 has $38,000 in debt with ages 25-34 holding the highest amount at $42,000. So keeping focused and finding ways to hold on to that excitement when you first decided to be debt free might be the key to getting there.
Inspiration is transportation for motivation. When you are feeling like you are tired of the sacrifices and the work that it is taking to get out of debt, get inspired. Debt free inspiration is two-fold. You read or chat with someone who has had success, and it motivates you to do that very same thing.
If you are trying to get fit, you read about success stories of people who have lost weight on a great eating plan or created goals to run a marathon.
If you are trying to get out of debt, you read or watch Youtube featuring people who are on the journey or who are completely debt free. Have you ever watched the debt-free screams on Dave Ramsey’s youtube channel? Talk about debt-free inspiration!!!
The internet is full of great blogs and articles to read when you need a little debt free inspiration and motivation. But everyone has an opinion on how to do it. I suggest looking for debt-free stories, advice, and inspiration from those who are (or almost are) debt free. Don’t take advice from those who try to give you their two cents when they are one of those with $42,000 worth of debt.
Debt Free Motivation
Dave Ramsey has eight tips for staying motivated in your debt free journey.
- Create a visual of your money goal. This could be a money jar printable, a thermometer, a jar of marbles that you transfer to another empty jar as you pay off $10 at a time. Whatever you can come up with to SEE where your money is going will only benefit you.
- Remember your why. Look around. Remind yourself why you want to do this. Do it for your future. Do it for your present. Change your family tree.
- Find people to keep you accountable. Look to those who have or are also in favor of being debt free. Find your tribe and ask them to be your accountability support system. People who are going through the same thing can be both inspiration and motivation.
- Quit comparing yourself to others. This time of year, you will see Facebook posts and Instagram posts about all the fantastic vacations everyone is heading to for Spring Break. Just remember, you could be doing it too…BUT you are choosing something much bigger RIGHT NOW to set yourself up for a LIFETIME of vacations – all while being DEBT FREE!!
- Break your goals up into smaller ones. Instead of looking at that $25,000 in credit card debt, break it down into 25 $1,000 chunks and feel the accomplishment every time you knock out one of those chunks.
- Set small rewards along the way. Notice I said small? Stop thinking about that cruise from tip number four that the Jones Family is heading on next week. You know all about the Jones’ – they are still broke. Instead, buy a pretty Spring color nail polish or grab a fancy coffee.
- Remind yourself how far you have come even if that means just deciding to be debt free. It’s a big deal. And you should be proud of yourself for making it this far. There are so many who have not gotten to where you are.
- Stay inspired with stories and tips from others. I have called upon some other blogging friends who have been where you are and can offer some inspiration with their tips to be debt free.
Debt Free Inspiration From Some Experts
Tracie Fobes from Penny Pinchin Mom and Tracie Fobes
So, if you are trying to get out of debt, you have to first talk to your partner. You need to work together and make sure you are on the same page. Otherwise, your debt plan will never work.
Kelan Kline from The Savvy Couple
If you are trying to get out of debt the #1 tip we can give you is commit 110% into actually doing it. For years we were just chipping away at our student loan debt and keep telling ourselves it would disappear eventually. Once we finally make the decision to become debt free and committed ourselves to it, we were able to pay off $25,000 of debt in under five months. Decide to get out of debt and don’t waver until it’s gone.
Jeff Proctor from Breaking The One Percent and Dollar Sprout
My number one tip for getting out of debt is to stop getting into more debt. It sounds simple, but I’ve seen so many people wait until they have the “perfect plan” to get out of debt before they stop using their credit cards. You don’t need to have everything figured out at the beginning – but do everything you can to stop making the problem worse! Once you’ve got the problem contained, then it’s time to start tackling each debt one payment at a time.
Sara from Gathering Dreams
Decide what’s important for you in life: set a realistic financial goal, work out when you want to reach it and break down how much money you need to set aside each month to get there. By understanding how much you need every month, you can make your goal more achievable (thinking about saving $500 a month for five years is less daunting than thinking of setting aside $30,000).
Then do everything you can to get there: this includes asking for a raise at work, start a side hustle, save more on the big things like housing and bills. Your goal is what is going to drive you and help you to get out of debt more than anything else!
Francesca from From Pennies To Pounds
Be open to trying new things. When you want to make a change in your life, you are going to have to try new things to get you there.
There’s a lot of resistance when it comes to trying something new, but knowing that to get where you want to be you have to push through it, will keep you going and learning.
I was able to pay off my debt much faster than I initially thought because I started lots of different side hustles that I’d never done before.
Debbie from The Flooring Girl
I found myself $68,000 in debt a bit over 2 years ago, and I live in high cost of living area. Moving/selling wasn’t an option. When it comes to reducing debt, you have 2 main levers to pull – 1) save/reduce costs and 2) earn more income. While you should reduce spending, there is only so much you can reduce and there is much more upside on the latter. For me, I took on 2 part-time jobs and worked on growing my blog (TheFlooringGirl.com) in parallel. It took a while before my blog started to make significant income, but it is a scaleable asset (unlike working more hours…at a certain point, there are no more hours left in the day). I’m no down to just $8,000 in debt and hope to have the remainder cleared out by end of September.
Budget To Be Debt Free
David from Dad Life Lessons
You will have hiccups or bumps in the road on your journey to being debt free. Remember these aren’t derailments, just work to get back on track and stay the course. This may mean your journey to debt free takes a few months longer that’s okay, as a few months is way better than a lifetime of debt.
David & Cassie from Living Low Key
Get comfortable with saying “it’s not in the budget.” Once you create a budget, stick to it like super glue. There were plenty of times in our debt free journey where my friends made fun of me because I told them I couldn’t play a round of golf that weekend because it would put me over my budget. Becoming debt free was more important than playing a round of golf. Once you accept that your long term goal is more important than short term pleasure, saying “it’s not in the budget” and sticking to that budget becomes easier. That’s how you reach your debt free goal. P.S. There is plenty of room in the budget for fun once your debt is gone.
Marissa from Simple Money Mom
Remember that a small leak can sink a great ship. This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin that I hold dear to my heart. You will make mistakes, and that’s okay, but you’ll need to learn from the mistake and keep going. Don’t give up just because your budget failed this month. Don’t give up because you couldn’t save this month. Fix your “leak” so that you can accomplish the bigger goal.
Connor from CT Financial Coaching
My ONE TIP for someone who wants to be debt free is “Don’t Give Up!” A lot of times the debt free journey can be difficult, challenges arise, discouragement comes, and things get in the way that may slow us down, but if we will choose not to give up, debt freedom is absolutely possible.
Amanda from The Frugal Mom Guide
I would say that the single most important thing to do when you are trying to pay off debt is to budget and stick to it. Without a plan, there’s no foundation which can cause all your hard work and efforts to crumble during the debt payoff process. A budget helps you to take control of your finances. It shows you how much you earn vs. how much you spend. It gives you an idea of how long you will take to become debt free and can also motivate you to increase your income to speed up the journey. I don’t know… but when you start budgeting (and sticking to it!), magic happens!
Jill from Organizational Toast
My biggest tip for folks who are trying to get debt free is to track your spending! I learned so much about our spending habits once I started tracking all our spending. I was overwhelmed (and not in a good way) by how much we were spending on eating out and other miscellaneous purchases. Once I started tracking our spending, it made it easier to stick to our budget and plug up any spending gaps. I used a simple spreadsheet and filled it out every few days. Tracking our spending was critical to our success in paying off $40k in debt in one year while I was a SAHM. Even now that we are debt free, I still track our spending, and it has kept us debt free for over five years!
Marjorie from Stashing Dollars
The thing that helped me the most was cutting back on expenses. It is easier to keep more of the money you have than to find more money.
Temporary Sacrifices For A Debt Free Life
Russell And Maleah from Unconventional Prosperity
Our top tip for becoming debt free is to temporarily downsize your life. Have a good look at the luxuries that you take for granted – eating out, a fancy car, subscriptions to Hulu or Netflix and anything else you could live without. These small expenses can all add up, and that money can be put towards paying down your debt. The idea is to sacrifice now so that you can thrive and enjoy a debt-free life in the future. Your future debt-free self will thank you!
Chhavi from Mrs. Daaku Studio
If you want to be debt free, live frugally for a few years whether you like it or not (for example, cut down on cable, exotic groceries, alcohol, gym membership etc) and take up part-time job or a side hustle (for example, you can take up writing assignments or offer a service as a virtual assistant, etc). This will help you increase each installment drastically.
Monica from Lucky Mojito
Start by cutting your expenses, negotiating your existing bills, eating out less, and side hustling. Take that extra money and pay down your debt. Make sacrifices now so that you can benefit later.
Adjust Your Income
Ashley from Millennialist Mom
My best tip for getting debt free is reminding yourself you are freeing up income. Instead of lamenting about being in debt, start thinking about what you’ll be able to do with an extra $500-$X left over every month. Paying it off in large chunks might feel tough at first, but it’s way cooler when you think about what you’ll be able to do with it once the debt is gone.
Pulkit from Simplistic Money
My tip is to increase the income by starting a Side hustle (I am a big advocate) and reduce the expenses by optimizing your finances. This will create additional money which you can utilize towards debt payment which helps you go debt-free faster.
Veneta from Becoming Life Smart
If you have a partner, live on one income and save the other. Use the extra money to pay down debt and save. This is how we paid off our house in 5 years and also paid off both cars. Being debt-free in our mid-30s wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for living on one income.
Setting Financial Goals
Bri at Frugal Minimalist Kitchen
Make that your primary life goal. Everything you do will be filtered through the question of “does this help me reach my debt-free goal?” Make most of your choices based on what gets you closer to paying off your debt! It’s ok if you make some choices that don’t help you pay off your debt, but if 80%-90% are in alignment with your goal you’re golden!
Jessica from On Budget Moms
Set realistic goals. So many times I have set an amount for debt repayment that was way more than I could handle. So I started small. I started only putting an extra $10 on my debt.
Mallory from All About The Money
My one piece of advice is to understand that what works for one person may not work for you. Becoming debt free isn’t just about following ALL the advice out there and waiting for magic to happen. It’s about really understanding your life, your finances, and your goals and making the system work for you to reach those goals.
Learn To Say No
Jen from Hairs Out Of Place
Our number one tip for others looking to be debt free is to always live below your means. As your income increases, don’t increase your spending habits and instead, try to use as much of that extra money to pay off your debt, invest in your 401K or IRA, and work towards financial freedom. The short term sacrifices will come back tenfold in the quality of life you’re creating for your future.
Amanda from Simple Life Of A Frugal Wife
The one tip I would give to someone who wants to get out of debt is to learn to say no a lot, especially to eating out and going out with friends. It stinks at the time, but it pays off (literally).
Thomas from Parents Plus Kids
The one advice I would give to someone who wants to be debt free is to learn how to say “no.” Specifically, learn how to say no to friends or families if they ask you to do something that puts you financially at risk. For example, it could be cosigning a loan or going out to an expensive restaurant or trip you know you can’t afford.
Jacqueline from Mom Money Map
Do a no-spend challenge. It will open your mind up on how to live with less. You’ll appreciate and make better use out of the things you have. You’ll be more aware of your impulse purchases. You’ll learn new skills and become more resourceful to avoid paying for things. All of these insights will change your long-term spending habits and accelerate your progress to becoming debt free.
Find Your “Why”
Kathryn from Money And Mountains
Remember why you started. It is easy to feel like you will never get through to the end. These are the moments that make all the difference. Remember why you started to help you push through the tough times and get to that glorious debt free moment!
Kristin from Cents And Purpose
Identify you’re “why”! Why do you want to become debt-free? How will it change your quality of life? What can debt-free living afford you? The journey to debt freedom can be a bumpy one, and it’s crucial to have your “why” guiding your steps!
Tana from Debt Free Forties
Track your progress so you can see how far you’ve come. It’s a great motivator to help you keep focused on your goals. I like to keep track in several ways. I use printable debt trackers where you color in your progress, and I hang it somewhere that we can see it every day. I also keep track of a paper budget every month, so I can see how our finances change from month to month. Lastly, I calculate how our net worth changes every month so that I can see that even if the debt didn’t go down much, our net worth has gone up a certain amount. All of these together really help you to see your progress and keep that motivation going!
GP from Entirely Money
The one tip that made the most difference in our journey was to have an accountability partner. This works for most any goal but is especially useful in finances. The reason we found it so effective was that anyone could set a goal, but very few people stick to the journey to achieve their goals. Just take a look at how few people stick with their New Years resolutions.
An accountability partner is someone who will help make sure you stay on track. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when there is someone else who knows what your goal is and you don’t want to disappoint that person. For me, it was my spouse, and we were accountable to each other. We went over our finances together and made commitments to make changes that have put us on the path to be debt free.
Michelle from My Purse Strings
My tip is not to deny yourself of something but to find a way to do it cheaper or an alternative to making you happy. I have blog posts about working out at home vs. the gym, giving up cable TV but still getting all the channels through subscription services like PS Vue or using a babysitting coop instead of hiring a sitter.
Tasia from The Frugal Farm Girl
I would say to NOT compare your journey to others. Stay away from social media because everyone is posting events things their family is doing, and if you are serious about paying off debt, some of those luxuries or family vacations are set aside temporarily.
I hope you have found some inspiration and motivation for your own debt free journey through the stories of others. I would love to hear your tips and stories. Please share in the comments to inspire and motivate others.
Number 5 was my big motivation for the first part of our debt-free journey – I think that’s why the debt-snowball works so well. Every debt we paid off felt like a big win! I was a little concerned about this when we hit our last debt (the student loan – they are a bit different in Canada, as they are usually just one big loan, instead of a bunch of little ones) but then I picked up one of the Debt Free Charts. Colouring it in once a month = awesome way to break it up into smaller sections and see our progress!
As far as inspiration to keep going – I think my biggest one at this point has been what Jessica said – setting realistic goals. In our case, that meant being open to adjusting our timeline for debt pay-off to fit our reality. It means it will take us a little longer to get it all paid off…but it will be easier to stay on plan since the plan is based on our actual life, not an ideal version.