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How to Stay Motivated When the Struggle Is Real

3 Minute Read

Let’s get real for a minute: paying off debt isn’t easy. It’s all fun and games in the beginning. You pay off your smallest debt and roll right into the next one. Before you know it, you’ve cut up your credit cards and checked a bunch of small debts off your debt-snowball list.

You’re motivated! You’re on fire!

But then you get down to your last few debts—maybe even the final one. And you start to fizzle out. You aren't seeing those small wins anymore, and you feel like you’re running on fumes. Without a few tricks up your sleeve, you’re in danger of slowing down or quitting altogether.


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We know what it’s like. That’s why we put together this list of four things you can do to keep yourself on track when the going gets tough.

1. Stay inspired with stories and tips from others!

You aren’t the only one out there who gets excited when you make another big payment on your student loans. There are a bunch of people who blog about their journeys of getting out of debt and finding financial peace. Whether you’re looking for kindred spirits or ideas on how to save money on groceries and entertainment, you can find encouraging articles and blogs online.

2. Plug into a Financial Peace University class.

If you haven’t already been part of a Financial Peace University class, sign up now. And if you’ve already done it once, guess what? Nobody is stopping you from going through it again! It’s a lifetime membership—and you can take advantage of it as many times as you want. The community and accountability you find in an FPU class will help you stay gazelle intense.

3. Create a visual of your money goal.

Because so many people are visual learners, it helps to actually see your money goals. Make a debt snowball thermometer for your fridge and color it in as you make more and more payments. Or place a sticky note on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself how much debt you have left—or how far you’ve come. Keeping these visuals where you can see them will keep your goal at the front of your mind and help you reach it faster.

4. Set small rewards along the way.

Give yourself small rewards to stay motivated until the last debt is "paid in full." You could treat yourself to something as small as a latte from your favorite coffee shop. Or you can pick something a little bigger, like a new pair of shoes or video game. You choose your rewards. Just make sure they aren’t so extravagant that they slow you down.

The pride that came from paying off your smaller debts may have been enough of a reward in the beginning of Baby Step 2. But the bigger debts take a little more time. It’s the same way when you’re building up your 3-6 month emergency fund or paying off the mortgage. You’re in it for the long haul. But if you stay focused, patient and motivated, you’ll reach your goals before you know it.

Don’t forget to take action to keep yourself on track as you’re working your way through the Baby Steps. If you’re looking for a way to stay motivated but you’re pressed for time, check out the Financial Peace University Online Home Study.

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