Paying Down Debt Takes Discipline

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This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt, find out how they can help. If you’re looking to pay off debt, find out how Pay Down My Debt can help.

One of the things I realized early on when I went looking for answers on how to get out of debt, it was going to take significant changes in my behavior to overcome a $109,000 hole my family and I had dug for ourselves.

Discipline was a word that often surfaced, and others used to describe what it takes to turn your money mindset around. Often people make the weight loss comparison to debt reduction. If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds, you know what it takes to skip over the cookies or make healthy choices when eating, self-control.

It was why when I started to blog, and I named my site “Debt Discipline” because I recognized how big of a part the behavior piece was in personal finance. The math part is relatively easy; breaking bad habits is something totally different.

Working towards any goal like getting out of debt will be meaningless unless you have a reason to do it. Defining a “why” will help keep you focused and motivated. Our why was to stop living paycheck to paycheck, build a better financial future for our family, and teach our children better money habits.

Even with the goal in place and a why defined, it will not be easy. Making change will take sacrifice during the journey of debt repayment. Remember the first week of any diet ever? Feeling hungry at night, well you will have similar struggles when curbing your overspending.  However, do you remember the first time you stepped on the scale and realize you dropped three pounds? Instantly the hard work was worth it. It the same when it comes to your money.

debt

Getting out of Debt Steps

I have written about getting out of debt several times, so let’s recap the steps I recommend:

  • Realize you need help/find help/educate yourself
  • Define a “Why”
  • Build a plan (Budget)
  • Communicate and agree upon plan with spouse/family (Budget)
  • Stop building new debt
  • Place expenses into “wants” verse “needs” buckets
  • Build an emergency fund (Cash Savings)
  • Pick Debt Payoff method/Track progress / stay motivated
  • Build Wealth

Many of the items in this list are actions and behaviors, find help, educate, communicate, build, plan, etc. There’s no mention of math in these items. Sure, you will have to calculate your numbers along the way, but those actions and behaviors will take the most discipline. That’s why it’s important to get off to a great start finding the right resources to assist you on your journey.

Educate Yourself/ Find Help

One of the best things you can do when tackling any new subject is to increase your knowledge on the topic. I did this by reading and listen to as much information on personal finance as possible. Start with the internet in the comfort of your own home. Look at the mainstream sites like Yahoo, USA Today, etc. they all have personal finance sections, then dig into personal finance blogs. I always find the reading the different points of views of other people help me glean bits and pieces of information from their stories that I can incorporate into mine.

Dust off the library card and check out some books on the topic from your local public library. I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey’s “A Total Money Makeover” and Thomas J. Stanley’s “The Millionaire Next Door.” Several other great books are free to use at your library.

PDMD states:

“Many people have difficulty paying off their debt.  Although well-intentioned, people get distracted by competing priorities, and some are not good at sticking to their budget plans. Let’s face it, if we’re not pre-budgeting for our expenses, at the end of the month, the extra that you plan to pay to your targeted debt(s) may already be spent.”

Maybe you will need an accountability partner along the way to help keep you on track. Perhaps it’s a spouse, a friend, a family member or a service like PDMD.

My wife and family helped us stay accountable to each other. We were working towards the common goal of becoming debt free and helped one another stay focused. Along the way, I started my blog as another way to stay connected and disciplined on reaching our goal of being debt free. Sharing our money goals and net worth on a blog for the world to see can be an incredible motivator to stay on track.

No matter what obstacles you face in organizing your finances, remember that many have done it before you. They call it personal finance for a reason; everyone’s situation will be different. Income, family, expenses, starting point, debt, etc., so don’t get caught up in the comparison game. Just remember with discipline your goals can be achieved and your why can be reached. The good news is if you happen to stumble along the way, help is available.

What bad behaviors did you have to overcome to get your money organized? Does discipline play a part in your money behaviors or any other parts of your life?

10 thoughts on “Paying Down Debt Takes Discipline”

  1. So true, Brian!! For us, it was a simple lack of discipline. We wanted to spend what we wanted to spend with no consequences. But as the old saying goes, you can have anything, you just can’t have everything.

  2. Thanks for the post. I never appreciated that the name of your blog, though now it makes perfect sense! Have a great weekend and thanks again.

  3. I wish I had another person to hold me accountable. Least I am finding similar support on the interwebs. When I was writing my about page last night, it sucked realizing that I have been carrying debt all my adult life. And its been tough really facing it. I think I have finally reached that breaking point and definitely need to get out. What’s going to make it different this time? I don’t know, but I need to make it happen.

    • Good luck! It’s never to late to start. You’ve got a great, supportive community, so tap into it. Check out the rockstar finance forums too.

  4. 100% agree with you sir! You’ve got to have really big WHY… If you have it, you will discipline yourself and step by step you will sacrifice deeper and deeper.
    But there’s another thing I would add; STOP worrying about what other people think about you, and STOP comparing yourself with others. If you continue to worry and compare – it will kill your plan of getting out of debt.

    P.S. We paid of ~$55K in debt.

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