Paying off debt is a process — sometimes, a really long process. At some point, you might find yourself suffering from debt fatigue.
We’ve all been there. If you’re getting complacent paying off your student loan debt, it’s time to jump start your motivation, get rid of those loans, and take back your life.
Try These Creative Debt Repayment Strategies
Here are four ways to kick your debt repayment (and your attitude) into high gear.
1. Make It Into A Game
Everyone likes games, right? Americans love to watch sports, play board games, and be competitive in general. Why not take that same zest for games and put it toward paying off debt?
Here are some examples of ways to turn your student loan payoff strategy into a game:
- Save every $5: Whenever you have cash and end up with a $5 bill, stash it away and then put all your fives toward your bill at the end of the month.
- No spending week: For one week, commit to no spending of any kind. Put that amount of money you would have spent toward debt. If you fail the challenge, double your payment for that month.
- Side hustle challenge: Find one of your lowest bills and commit to side hustling until you earn enough to pay it off. (Check out our list of ideas to get started.) Every month, pick a new bill and hustle to get rid of it.
- Bill haggle day: Every month, figure out one expense that you can lower by getting on the phone and negotiating. Is it cable? Phone? Internet? Negotiating can be nerve racking, but companies are often willing to work with you in order to keep you as a customer.
Making a game out of your debt repayment strategy can help make it a little less stale and keep you focused on your goals.
2. Calculate Your Daily Interest
When I first did the math on how much interest I owed per month, I was in shock. I went a step further and calculated my daily interest.
At its highest, I was paying nearly $11 per day in interest alone. This quickly motivated me toward getting out of debt as soon as possible. I imagined throwing away $11 in the trash every day and all the great things I could do with that money instead.
To calculate your daily interest rate, use the following formula.
(interest rate) x (current principal balance) ÷ 365 = daily interest
So let’s say you have $30,000 in debt with an interest rate of 6%.
(.06) x ($30,000) = $1,800
$1,800 ÷ 365 = $4.90
That’s nearly $5 per day you are throwing away at interest. Think of what else you could be doing with that money.
3. Get Angry
I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions throughout my debt repayment journey. I’ve been sad, then sadness led to apathy.
It was anger that motivated me to keep going. Anger, while not the healthiest emotion, can motivate you to action. Get angry about your debt and what it’s doing to your lifestyle. Get mad about how much money you’re throwing away on interest. Get mad and start putting more money toward your debt.
4. Imagine the Future
Being in debt can make you feel like your future is being robbed from you. It dashes your dreams and kills your hope. I know I’ve felt like debt has held me back in a lot of ways. But dwelling on the negative consequences of your debt won’t get rid of it.
Change your thinking and imagine all the things you will be able to do after you pay off your student loan debt. Debt does not have to be forever. Your big goals and dreams can co-exist with debt repayment, it’s just about making the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Start thinking about the future and all the things you will be able to enjoy untethered from the burden of debt.
- Travel more
- Have less guilt about purchases
- Save and invest more
- Have freedom to quit your job or start a business
- Provide a free college education for your children
Instead of letting your student loan debt make you feel down, flip your mental script and tell yourself the sooner you get out of debt, the sooner you can achieve these things and more.
Sustaining motivation during long periods of debt repayment can be difficult. Sometimes it requires a change of thinking or new approach. Paying off debt is so much more than just numbers — it’s about your mindset, too. Use these four steps to get yourself motivated to pay off debt. Your life is waiting.
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