Debt Free, Debt Reduction, Motivation

10 Things That Will Happen On The Road Between Being In Debt And Being Debt Free

10.  When you start your journey, you will be pumped!  You will read books, listen to radio programs, subscribe to debt reduction blogs (hint, hint), and fill your mind with debt reduction strategies.  After years of ignoring your debt, you will have had enough.  With enthusiasm, you will create your own debt reduction plan.  You will be ready.

9.  As you move forward, you will learn to sacrifice.  By giving up wants and focusing on needs you will be amazed by how just how much wasteful spending you had been doing.  This will bum you out, just a bit, but you’ll be thrilled to see how much extra money you have.  In these early days, you will put every single extra penny towards debt reduction.  You will be on fire.

8.  After a few months, you will really get the hang of it.  Budgeting will become second nature, and you’ll really think about how you are spending your money.  Instead of fighting with your spouse, you’ll learn to talk.  As your balances shrink (much too slowly, you will think), you will begin to dream of life after debt.

7.  Just as things are moving along nicely, you will have to deal with an unexpected emergency.  Your baby will get sick.  Your hours will get cut.  Your washing machine will die.  Something will happen.  That’s why you need your emergency fund.

6.  After the emergency has passed, you will struggle to find motivation.  The enthusiasm with which you started out will no longer be there.  Your goal date, which seemed so possible, will seem like fantasy, now that you’ve spent time (and money) dealing with the emergency.  You will think about quitting.

5.  Following some good self-talk, you will decide to press on with your debt reduction.  Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you will remember why you started this in the first place.  You wanted to be free.  You wanted to save for retirement.  You wanted to be a good example for your kids.  You will plant a flag in the ground – and you will get back on track.

4.  As you begin to rid yourself of your debts, you will find new ways to create income and save money.  You will work harder than you have ever worked before and you will focus all of your energy on one, consuming goal.  You will begin to hate your debts, in a way that you never thought possible.  You will rock.

3.  Near the end of your journey, you will see the finish line.  Six months, five months, four months, three months… No matter where you are or what you are doing, you will be counting down the months, weeks, days, and even hours until you will be debt free.

2.  After you make your final payment, you will rejoice.  You will scream.  You will shout.  You will run around your house, jumping up and down, like a child on Christmas morning.  You will be free, free, free.

1.  Upon thinking about your journey, you will be thankful.  You will be thankful for the lessons you learned.  You will be proud, of yourself and your family, for the hard work and the sacrifice.  You will have done something that very few people are willing to do.  You will feel awesome.

Need a little help getting started?  Check out my free Debt Reduction Guide (And E-Book)

10 thoughts on “10 Things That Will Happen On The Road Between Being In Debt And Being Debt Free

  1. You forgot a couple more….but they are “after” 1.

    0.9) look back and figure out the mistakes you made and wonder why you made them

    0.8) wonder why you didn’t do this earlier

    0.5) every week you will love seeing your paycheck when you know it’s all yours (okay, except the taxes)

  2. (number of your choice) Share these thoughts with your frends, family, and anyone that will listen. There are a number of techniques, paths, systems, advisors, etc,. that can help (find the one that you are comfortable with), but this emotional roadmap will guide you through the good and the bad. It will help you stay strong during adversity because you have a plan.

  3. Great post. It applies not only to debt in general, but to each individual debt. You’ll have elements of these along the way and be at different stages depending on how many debts you have.

  4. Thanks for putting out a guide to the milestones on the path out of debt. I’m working at a company that’s trying to design a product to help people get out of debt, and the main issues that keep coming up involve two initial hurdles: (1) how to even get the strength to look at one’s debt and total financial picture and (2) taking the first steps towards paying it down. In other words, what do I tell those who are struggling to get them pumped about facing reality in the first place?

    Much thanks,

    Raj Patel

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. We’ve been able to use our small emergency fund for a root canal and to go out of town for a funeral–both would have been put on credit cards if we were still living the way we did last year….We are in the very early stages of a debt snowball, but can already feel some relief…3 small debts down….7 more (larger) to go…the first step for us was really getting it down on paper–our situation was scary, but it motivated us to start doing the smart thing–the right thing, with our money.

  6. This list is great! We are currently struggling on #’s 7 & 6 – doing great on a plan to enrich our EMER account by $5k and WHAMMO – I need a crown, kid breaks his finger, husband needs glasses!! I guess we just need to acknowledge and move on. 🙂

  7. And when you get down to the end of the count down, please start counting “up”.

    That’s why I like Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, getting out of consumer debt is just step 2. You need to channel that intensity (and that money) into things that will build your wealth once the debt is gone.

    In order to keep my motivation high, I made a series of small goals re increasing the emergency fund, the escrows (car replacement, house project/repairs funds) and investing (retirement and taxable accounts). Being able to mark those off one at a time has been even better than marking off the debts was!

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