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How to Get Motivated to Dig Out of Debt

Motivated to Dig Out of Debt“Well, that’s a relief,” I told my husband.  “With that kind of raise, we should be totally fine!”  

Looking back on that conversation is kind of like watching a horror movie.  You’re looking on yelling, “No!  Don’t open that door!”  Meanwhile the oblivious buffoon on the screen flings the door open to their inevitable demise.

Yeah, I would say I was a bit of an oblivious buffoon at the time.  What I should have realized is that we had been given an opportunity to knock out our debt.  In reality, I didn’t even know for sure how much we owed the credit card companies, because I was afraid of what the calculator would tell me.

So I happily ignored the cards, assuming that paying what I could here and there would make them disappear eventually.  After all, we’d struggled to make ends meet for a long time.  We deserved this raise!  Why shouldn’t we enjoy it?

This post was written by our talented staff writer, Jamie Jeffers.

How to Get Motivated to Dig Out of Debt

I guess I’m not alone in that kind of thinking.  Outstanding credit card debt is back on the rise and recently surpassed $1 trillion.

Are you part of that unhappy trend?  If so, let’s take a look at some ways to get motivated to dig out of debt.

What Is Debt Costing You?

While you do need to face the facts and tally up how much you owe, this time I’m not talking about your total debt number.  I’m talking about how much you spend month in and month out.  

What are those monthly payments costing you?  If you pay the minimum, I’ve got bad news.  Nearly all of that is covering the interest… and only the tiniest portion of your payment lowers the amount you owe.  You are literally giving the card companies money month after month as nothing more than an expensive “Thanks for letting me borrow money that one time!”

But there’s good news, too.  Assuming you can change your borrowing habits (as in, never carry a balance on credit cards again), this payment can be eliminated from your budget.  Gone forever.  A car is replaced by another car (whether you make payments to the bank or get smart and make payments to yourself).  Utility bills will keep coming month after month.

But those credit card payments?  Those student loans?  Pay them off as fast as you can and never look back.

Imagine what you could do with that kind of money month after month!  If you paid that cash to yourself instead, you could probably reach whatever goal you want.

Use Your FOMO for Good

Do you have FOMO…fear of missing out?  You’ve gotta buy that new gadget that everyone else has. You need to take that expensive trip because everyone else did.

When you put all of these things on credit, you’re missing out for sure.  Missing out on the opportunity to pay for those same things later on using cash.  And missing out on the chance to sleep easy knowing that you don’t have to fear paying off a debt that’s grown too large.  

Say no to these things, even when everyone around you seems to be enjoying themselves.  You don’t know what their bank accounts look like, so stop comparing.  Chances are you wouldn’t envy the steep price they pay to enjoy these things now, anyway.

Get Excited About the Snowball

Do you know how to snowball your debt?  Check out this resource to get started.  

While knowing how much money you owe can be scary at first, you can use numbers to feel empowered, too.  What can you do to beat the date the calculator gives you?  Pick up a side job?  Dedicate your whole tax refund?  

The faster this debt is gone, the sooner you can reclaim your life.

Know Your Big Numbers

I’m not gonna lie.  When we got halfway through paying off our debt, I hit a bit of a wall.  I found myself beginning to spend more freely and knew I had to reign it in.

By coincidence, around that same time I started reading more about retirement numbers.  Most of us assume we will work until we retire at a certain age.  But what about working until you hit a certain number?  

How much money do you need to retire?

The number is probably high…as in a million or more.  But instead of intimidating me, just knowing the magic number felt freeing.

I don’t have to come up with that amount tomorrow.  But once I’m out of debt, I can sock away more money for an earlier retirement.  More and more people are retiring at a young age these days.  Why not you and me?

Do whatever it takes to get motivated to dig out of debt!

These tips will light a fire inside you and make you forget all about that “I’m worth it” thinking.  You’re worth far more than keeping up with the Joneses!

How did you get motivated to dig out of debt?

Battle of the Mind


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. We started with a huge debt load. It’s taking a while to dig out, but we are staying motivated by continuing education. We started by reading debt freedom blogs (and then started our own) and when that excitement wore off, we switched to reading FIRE blogs. Now the thought of retiring early keeps us motivated to pay off our debt. We’ve used joy, fear and all kinds of other emotions to motivate us to keep going. Whatever works!

    • That’s great! Thanks for sharing Laurie! The FIRE blogs are interesting, but too many of them promote working hard today to do nothing tomorrow. Life should be more than just sitting on the beach drinking a martini; it should be cherished for experiences, memories, and helping others!

      • So true, Derek. One valuable piece of advice I received about FIRE is make sure you’re not just retiring away from something (your job) but also toward something else. Purpose is vital when working toward ER!

        • For sure! I worry about that with quite a few people today. They’re really excited about hanging up their job, but then they end up with absolutely no sense of purpose, which can be extremely dangerous to their quality of life! When I retire, I’m going to keep helping others with their finances. It’s a passion of mine and I’ll work at it for life regardless of my nest egg!

  2. I knew that I didn’t like the feeling of watching so much money leave my bank account to pay for the mortgage. I sacrificed in my 20s but I’m glad I did as I am now debt free and don’t worry at all about money. While I still work I know that I’m able to do so many more things that I previously wouldn’t be able to if I still had debt 🙂

    • Exactly! We just went to a minor league baseball game on a whim yesterday and dropped a quick $40. We had a blast and I don’t have to check my bank account today out of nervousness. I know we have plenty of money and the experience was worth every penny. Three cheers for no debt! 😉

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