This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt, find out how they can help. This post contains affiliate links.
In theory, paying off debt should be simple right? Cut expenses, increase earnings and put more toward debt. Though these concepts are relatively simple, putting them into play is much more difficult.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Paying off debt is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Why? Because the process is so emotional.
You have to give up certain beliefs that may have gotten you into debt — or kept you there. You have to change your lifestyle and go against the status quo. It can be a very isolating experience.
Because of that, it’s very easy to let your debt fall to the wayside and get back into old beliefs and bad habits.
Everyone’s in debt.
You only live once!
I can pay off debt later!
What really worked for me was not going through the process alone. If you want to pay off debt, it’s crucial to have accountability systems in place.
When I published my first post on January 3, 2013 I felt alone, scared and overwhelmed. I had tried to pay off debt on my own while barely getting by.
I didn’t know what would happen when I published that first post, but I can confidently say it changed my whole life. Through my blog I created a community of other debt fighters who were going through the same things I was.
I had people I didn’t know cheering me on — rooting for me. They wanted me to succeed. Having that positive external reinforcement really made the difference.
Every month, I published my debt updates and I felt accountable to all my readers. I didn’t want to fail. In many ways, it was what kept me going.
If you don’t want to start a blog, find a friend who is also paying off debt. Set weekly meetings where you talk about your progress and setbacks.
One of the best things I did to pay off my debt was make multiple payments toward debt each month. This helped me lower my interest and put more toward debt.
I’m not going to lie — sometimes I made excuses. It’s very easy to lie to yourself when paying off debt. Being consistent is a skill you have to master, but our will and temptation can get in the way of our best intentions.
If you want to stay accountable and make multiple payments toward debt, consider using a service like Pay Down My Debt.
Pay Down My Debt helps users automate their debt by making automatic payments that are deducted from your account biweekly or bimonthly.
According to their website, “Our system makes the equivalent of an extra monthly payment on each loan every year. This also reduces your balance faster, again with less interest going forward. It’s a win-win!”
While the service isn’t free, it is only $9.99 per month for managing up to three loans. But you don’t just get the benefit of accountability and biweekly payments, you also get access to your credit score and credit monitoring. They’ll also send you reminders and payment alerts.
For the price of two lattes you are essentially paying for the accountability to propel your debt forward. No excuses.
Sure you can do this stuff for free, but sometimes you need a little extra help. You can work out on your own, but sometimes you need a trainer to kick you into shape.
Sometimes, putting a little money upfront can go a long way and help you battle your own doubts and demons. Like I said, there were some months I made excuses and only paid once a month. If I had a foolproof, automatic way to make biweekly payments without thinking about it, I could have gotten out of debt earlier.
In order to pay off debt, you need to change your financial habits. To do that, you need to actually track where things are going.
I created a daily habit of checking my bank account. I signed up for Mint and stuck with it — I enjoyed seeing their weekly spending reports and seeing my net worth (if you read my book, you know that I initially deleted my Mint account because I was seriously in denial!).
I signed up for text and email alerts from my student loan servicer. All of these things kept me accountable and got me out of denial. If you want to pay off debt successfully, it’s crucial that you get out of denial and take action.
It’s tough but putting systems into place can help!
Paying off debt is tough. Doing it alone? Even harder. Don’t leave your debt repayment up to chance and put accountability systems into place so that you can finally get out of debt.