How to Stick to a Debt Repayment Plan
Creating debt is a lot easier than paying it off. However, the day you do lay your last debt to rest is a glorious one. In addition to the sense of relief you'll feel knowing you can go forward debt free, it's also the culmination of a long process.
Completing a debt repayment plan requires a smart strategy along with the willingness to follow through to achieve your goals.
Here's how to stick to a debt repayment plan.
Of course you want to get rid of your debt as soon as possible. In a perfect world, you'd commit every dollar you could to paying it off. However, you still have a life. This means you'll have other expenses, as well as a desire to experience fun and entertainment from time to time.
Developing your plan to maximize the dollars you direct toward debt eradication — while leaving yourself room to live — will make adhering to the plan much easier. Living in a constant state of denial will make you break your plan.
Commit to It in Writing
Commitment is key. Draw up a contract with yourself, sign it, date it and review it every few months to remind yourself what you're doing and why. The contract should include the amounts you currently owe, as well as the monthly payment you'll put toward each one.
By the way, the best way to eradicate a list of debts is to put a large sum toward one while making minimum payments on the others. As each debt is paid off, direct the lump sum plus the minimum payment toward the next targeted obligation.
Putting it in writing makes it more real, gives you a frame of reference against which to measure your progress and creates a written promise you'll make to yourself. Toward that end, some people will do better working with debt specialists like the ones at Freedom Debt Relief.
Having a structured program to hold you accountable can help if you're facing down major debt. After enrolling in a program, you'll be responsible for making monthly deposits until you hit a certain threshold. Then the negotiation team will reach out to creditors on your behalf, aiming to reach a settlement lower than the original debt balance. If you do choose to go that route, research some background information like Freedom Debt Relief reviews to ensure your choice of partner is a solid one.
Track Your Advancement
You'll be tempted to go off the rails at some point. Repaying a lot of debt can take years in some cases and there will be distractions along the way.
If you keep a running tally of where you started vs. where you are with each obligation, you'll see your progress firsthand. You'll feel better about what you're doing and you'll be inspired to stay with the plan because you can see it working.
Tracking your advances also introduces the opportunity to set and observe milestones as you achieve them.
Stop Charging Things
Progress can be slow. However, you'll take a step backward each time you slip and charge something. To make the plan work as quickly as possible, you'll need every step to be toward the achievement of your end.
Swear off “wants” during the repayment period. Focus on needs — with one exception. Allow yourself a reasonable reward when you hit milestones — for which you can pay cash — to incentivize yourself to keep going.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
This is where having committed to your plan in writing will come in handy. At some point during the process you're going to want to buy something new. Maybe you'll find yourself just a bit short of cash or you'll be distracted from your goal in another fashion. The temptation to break the plan will be strong.
When this happens, you'll need something to remind you why you're doing it. Visualize your life as a debt-free individual. Keeping your ultimate objective in the forefront gives you something at which to aim and continually move toward.
These five tips will help you stick to a debt repayment plan so you can retake control of your finances. Being realistic about what you can comfortably do, committing to your plan in writing and tracking your advances will keep you on the right path. Refraining from creating more debt and keeping your eye on your end goal will bring you all the way home.