Ok, so you are fully committed and you have a debt repayment plan in place. You are determined to pay it off as fast as possible. If this is you, the following are 7 things to think about. 1. You need to make big sacrifices This may sound obvious but the more none-essentials you can give up, the more you can pay towards debt and the faster you can become debt free. This also means giving up free time and instead working extra jobs to put more money towards debt. Essential things are a roof over your head, home-cooked food on the table and gas in the car to be able to go to and from work. I know it doesn't sound like a lot of fun but its only temporary so you can get rid of your debt fast and build better money habits. 2. You need a strong support group When you take on any challenge that will push you to your limits, which paying off debt fast is, you need a good support group. These are the people who can offer a hug if you need to cry, who say "it'll be ok", who you can call and talk to and overall give you the support to follow through. 3. Manage expectations Paying off debt fast requires a big lifestyle change and people around us will notice. Think about managing expectations if there are things you no longer are going to participate in, talk about and so on. Discuss it one-on-one with friends and family and explain what you plans are so that they can understand the sudden change. Who knows, you might even inspire someone to do the same. 4. You need to track your progress Having a plan and doing all these things to pay off debt faster is great. The difficult part is keeping motivation going when it feels like you are depriving yourself of everything good in life (this is what your inner saboteur will say anyway).
A visual tracking document of some sort makes it feel sooo good when we can check things off, and achieve milestones on the debt free journey. This is specially important if your road to being debt free is very long, then you can break it up with a lot of smaller milestones and celebrate each of them. To keep the motivation going. 5. Unconventional things speeds things up If you are willing to do unconventional things (compared to your neighbours), you can expect a lot faster progress on your debt repayment. Sometimes you can even immediately become debt free. Here are some unconventional examples: Sell your house and downsize, move to a smaller space (check out Tiny houses for inspiration), Move in with your parents or grandparents if they have extra space and if you get along, get an extra job or two (but watch out for burnout), sell all the things you don't need or use. You can also use frugality hacks like: meal planning, all home made meals with basic ingredients such as rice and beans, change grocery store (Aldi, Lidl), always bring picnic and drinks. Buy all your clothes second hand. Do a no-spend month or year challenge. This is a great way to reset spending money. These things may sound horrible to you now but there is a chance that you feel like a total money-badass when your debt is paid off, you have a full emergency fund and your dreams are on track to be fully financed, in advance! 6. Watch out for burnout One important thing to do is to balance the level of sacrifice and how fast you want to become debt free. Everyone is different and its important to not compare yourself with others on the same journey. Find the pace that works for you and be careful to not go too hard so that you get a burnout. If you take on 2-3 extra jobs at nights and weekends, plus selling stuff on ebay and so on., maybe you also have kids and your normal job during daytime, well chances are that your body will let you know it needs rest!
Try to listen to your gut feeling and rest when you need to. This is a pitfall to avoid and remember: when you stumble or when you are tired, rest instead of quitting. Get the rest you need and then go back to (a slightly lower level of) hustling and paying off debt. 7. It's a marathon, not a sprint Depending on the amount of debt you have, it will take more or less time to pay it back. If you have a large amount of debt, chances are that it will take a while and that is totally ok. To not get derailed on your debt free journey, try to set realistic expectations, with a small stretch. If you try to sprint a marathon, you will most likely run out of breath (motivation) and stop entirely. In any race and specially a longer one, its important to be well prepared, pace yourself, monitor progress and to have a lot of support. Did you find this blog post valuable? If yes, sign up for my list to receive posts like these straight to your inbox together with this Free pdf report: "The 28 Most Crushing Mistakes That Derail Women's Debt Free journey + The Solutions You Must Know to Achieve Financial Freedom"