Getting out of debt takes more than just making payments every month and following a payoff plan.
It takes effort the get started, motivation to stay the course, grace to forgive yourself the mistake, the hope of a brighter future, grit, and then following the plan.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that most of those have nothing to do with money, and instead has to do more tightly with your beliefs.
And that’s because your beliefs shape your thoughts, your thoughts shape your actions and your actions shape your results.
What you believe about debt, and your ability to get out of is the difference between wanting to get out debt, and being one of those folks who actually do it.
In this article, I want to talk with you about 6 money beliefs – that you might not even realize you have – that are sabotaging your efforts to get out of debt.
1. I don’t have enough money
I get it.
When you’re trying to make extra payments, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and convince yourself that you don’t make enough money to pay off your debt. Especially when you’re already living paycheck to paycheck.
But the largest part of paying off debt is finding more money to pay down faster. That means, cutting your expenses so you have more money from what you currently make, as well as making more money.
You can even get cash back on the purchase you’re already making every day.
It can take getting a little creative. But mostly, it’s taking a step back and changing your view from ‘not having enough’ to asking yourself, ‘what would you need to do to reach your goal’
2. Minimum payments alone are enough
The credit card company told you that’s all you need to pay, but don’t fall for it. A minimum payment is exactly that … the bare minimum that you can do without getting charged with fees and other penalties.
The payment you make covers over 2 – 3% of the principal payments and a large percentage of interest. on a $5700 card, with 25% interest, the minimum payment is about $171.
With that payment, each month, over $110 goes towards interest alone – double that amount you pay towards the principal.
At that rate, it’ll take you over 322 months (over 26 years) to pay off the debt, and pay more than $12,000 in interest alone.
That’s more than you borrowed. Trust me, the minimum payment is not your friend. Pay more than the minimum … any amount more.
3. Small payments don’t help.
When you’re tackling a $10,000 credit card debt, making an extra $5 a month payment seems like a waste of time. But you’d be wrong.
Just making an extra $5 per month on a card with a 25% interest rate can shave over 4 years off your payoff timeline and save you over $13,000 in interest alone.
That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Of course, larger payments have that big splashy paydown, but slow and steady still does a great job too.
Just because you can’t put 4 figures on your debt it one shot, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply that extra $5. At the very least, it’ll get you into the habit of making an extra payment. And that that’s motivation to keep on the course.
4. Debt consolidations are time-consuming, hard and only for folks with EXCELLENT credit
This is so far from the truth. Applying for debt consolidation isn’t hard. And it doesn’t take a lot of time to get a response or to check with multiple providers.
Companies like credible, only ask you a few questions on one application and provide you with a one-stop-shop to have loan providers give you their pre-qualified bids – without checking your credit score first.
And there is no commitment. Don’t like what you got offered? No harm, just walk away.
How much easier can it get than that?
And while we’re talking about credit scores and rates. Interest rates on debt consolidation loans vary from lender to lender, but personal loan debt consolidators like Payoff offer loans from 5.99% and only require a minimum score of 640.
5. You can’t do ANYTHING until you’re out of debt
One of the biggest obstacles to getting out of debt is staying the course. You know, keeping the momentum going.
And while many people believe that the best plan is to stay gazelle focused – with no vacations, no treats, never eating out, and no trips – that doesn’t work for everyone.
For some folks, that level of deprivation can throw us into a bad cycle of extreme frugality, then frugal fatigue that leads to s spending splurge and then depression again from spending too much and overdoing it on frugality.
6. If it’s not quick then you’ll never get out of debt
It can be incredibly overwhelming looking at six-digit debt that is more than your annual salary.
It’s even more depressing when you see that you are religiously made payments for the last several years and yet your debt still looks big (or bigger) than the day you got the loan.
You might just want to throw in the towel, accept that you’ll never escape and plan to die with your debt.
But don’t lose hope.
No matter how much debt you have, no matter how overwhelming it feels, no matter how bad the outlook appears, you can get out of it.
It might not be as glamorous as you would like.
You might not get to keep the fancy cars and nice things, but there are always options. Even if it takes a bit of time than the one or two years you’d like it to be gone in.
So tell me. What are some of the debt beliefs you have had that kept you from paying off your debt sooner?