Finding the Motivation To Pay Your Debt Off

If all goes according to plan, I should be on target to make my goal of putting our minimum $2,063 in the month of February towards debt. I mentioned during my January debt repayment update, that this was the minimum required each month if we want to be debt free within 50 months. I’m only a month into actually tracking my progress via the blog but I can tell you with 100% certainty that it helps keep me motivated. I know when (and there will be a when) the month comes where I don’t make my target I’ll be super bummed out when I have to publicly report I failed to reach said goal.

If you’re reading this I’m going to assume that you either have a blog of your own or read blogs regularly. Having a public domain such as a blog to document successes is just one way to keep ones self motivated. If you don’t have a blog of your own, being open with friends and family to help keep you motivated can be just as good. The point is having someone besides yourself (or spouse in our situation) can be a big help. Being accountable to someone else may be just the motivation required to reach your financial goals.

Other ways to keep yourself motivated while paying your debt off is tracking it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy spreadsheet (though if you can make one or have one made they’re fun to play with!) a simple piece of looseleaf will do just fine. Keeping your progress somewhere ”public” or where you will constantly be reminded will help. I don’t really like the idea of having it in a very public place (don’t need friends of friends who may be over knowing my business) but like the idea of it being on my desktop of computer or in a semi-private area of the home like home office somewhere.

Keep your eye on the prize. Everyone has goals for when they’re finally debt free. For us it’s moving into our ”forever home” and getting a second vehicle. We’re fine with how our life is now but we will eventually have more kids, move and require these things. The faster our debt is paid off, they faster we can have more kids, move and get started on working towards our other financial goals such as retirement. Is it totally lame that I also seriously can’t wait to to write the post with the title ”We’re 100% (non-mortgage) debt free?”. I think about this more than I probably should. Having some sort of image to stay focused on may help you stay motivated too. I often look at local real estate online to see what’s available,  though probably a serious time-waster, it really does make me want the debt to be gone that much more. Our home is ok for our current situation but it was never going to be more than a starter home.

Finding ways to stay motivated is tough. Talking about progress is key for me, either via the blog or with friends or family (though they don’t get the same boring details a fellow PF blogger may enjoy).  Rather than get envious, when I see someone with something I want I use that to push myself even more. I know someday the tables will turn and I’ll be the one someone will be envious of, enjoying a life they want (but I fully deserve due to hard work put in). I want to have a life I fully deserve fabricated from good ‘ol fashion hard work.

How do you stay motivated to reach your financial goals?


  1. You are right about when having a blog it keeps you motivated and accountable. Starting my blog was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I remember being so afraid to start a blog, but one day I just decided I was going to get out of debt, and this is my way of making myself be accountable. Accountable not to one person but to the whole world. I have met some great people and have been inspired by so many post like this one. I have also ran into some not so nice people, but that’s ok nothing is going to deter me from reaching my goal. Thank you for the motivation, I will always continue to follow your blog.
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted..Financial RoadmapsMy Profile

  2. It is really hard to stay motivated sometimes…especially when your goal is so far away! When we were paying off debt, we had a lot of mini-goals that helped us stay on track.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..My Frugal Bathroom Cabinet RemodelMy Profile

  3. Mindset and motivation are, in my opinion, absolutely *key* to paying off debt successfully so it’s something I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with.

    For example I found that setting myself monthly targets for debt repayments and then trying to *beat* them each month added a bit of competition and actually turned debt repayment into a game!

    If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on getting motivated to pay off debt I shared my own selection of tricks at: recently posted..How Quickly Could You Downsize If You Had To?My Profile

  4. I like rewarding small successes/milestones. For example I started my blog to generate enough money to offset our monthly student loan payments. Some small successes along the way was selling my first couple credit cards. This was cause for a (frugal) celebration! So just being excited about the small milestones can really do a lot.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..8 Reasons to Contribute to an HSAMy Profile

    • I didn’t start a blog o generate any sort of money but I am so thankful for the opportunities that it has allowed me. It is a big help in this journey.

  5. Having a blog definitely helps. You have online community that’s supporting you and you document your journey which reminds you and motivates you. I just started tracking my expenses. Hopefully that’ll help me watch my spending even more. I do like to put a little luxury items or reward here and there to keep me moving. I don’t want to get overwhelmed and quit.
    Michelle’s Finance Journal recently posted..January NumbersMy Profile

  6. I don’t think your want to write the “100% non-mortgage debt free” post is lame at all. I got to write my “done with our debt management program” post recently, and it FELT AWESOME. I fantasied about it for 4 years – I can’t wait to read yours. 🙂
    Travis @Debtchronicles recently posted..Is This The Year I Pay Someone To Do My Taxes?My Profile

  7. Holding myself accountable via my blog helps. I like to read other blogs to keep me inspired. Keeping my eye on the prize helps, too! I get excited for others when I read their “finally debt-free” posts, and know I can get there soon.
    E.M. recently posted..Republic Wireless ReviewMy Profile

  8. I try to keep my eye on the prize with my financial goals. Sometimes I find myself getting side tracked or distracted and I have to talk it through with my husband and re-evaluate my values/wants. It’s good to have someone keep you accountable- and you have a whole blogging community!
    Emily @ Urban Departures recently posted..THE WEEKEND EDITION NO. 15 – ANYTHING FOR HOCKEYMy Profile

  9. I just try to remember that awful feeling of being really stressed living a more paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. I’ll do anything to avoid that feeling again.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..The Cost of Living in ParadiseMy Profile

  10. I completely agree with your comment about keeping your eye on the prize when paying down debt.
    I think about my 20 year goal of retiring early and realise how much debt I need to get rid of as soon as possible.

    Whenever I used my credit card now, I feel really guilty!
    Mr Ikonz recently posted..Cheap holiday flights – I just saved $1,900 on airfares!My Profile

  11. “Keep your eye on the prize”. This has been crucial for us. We have a ton of debt to pay off, and looking too much into the short-term can be discouraging and overwhelming, so we focus on what life we be like when we’re debt free. It’s been a much more positive motivator for us. Great post, Catherine!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..What My Daughter’s Self-Defense Class Taught Me About DebtMy Profile

  12. Having a blog definitely keeps me accountable!! Like someone else commented, I read other blogs for inspiration. 🙂
    Stephanie@Mrs.Debtfighter recently posted..Weekly Goals- 2/24/14My Profile

  13. Keeping in front of us why we want to accomplish whatever goal it is is what generally keeps us going over time. I also find that setting smaller achievable steps towards that goal can be a really good way to continue working at attaining it.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..How to Raise Your Prices as a FreelancerMy Profile

  14. My motivation to do anything ebbs and flows. It’s frustrating. I try to embrace my motivation when I actually have it, otherwise nothing would ever get done.
    Daisy @ Add Vodka recently posted..Alcohol at Weddings: Open Bars, Cash Bars, and Limited MenusMy Profile

  15. My blog has definitely helped me stay motivated. I also try to celebrate the smaller wins. I don’t go crazy, but it feels like see my one card drop in big chunks like it is right now. When it starts picking up momentum (my debt-repayment process is only 18 months) I think that in and of itself will help to stave off a lot of my thoughts about possibly losing momentum.
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted..Ask The Readers: What Can I Do In Toronto?My Profile

  16. I’m still blown away at your guy’s goals of putting away $2,063 towards debt each month. That’s so freaking awesome Catherine! 😀 I always like to believe that even without the blog, I would still be paying off debt, but writing monthly updates does make me think twice when I want to buy a new pair of shoes. 😛
    Girl Meet Debt recently posted..Paying off Debt while Living in a High Cost AreaMy Profile

  17. DEBt DEBs says:

    I have created a thermometer in excel to track interim goals to keep me motivated. Besides that, I think following others progress also keeps me motivated. Makes me realize we’re not alone and others are doing the right thing going through belt tightening too! I’m thinking of starting a blog but need to be sure I can make a commitment to it. Thanks for sharing!

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