Simple Mistakes to Avoid When Paying Off Your Debt For Good


When was the last time you made a mistake? For me, it was about five minutes ago when I decided to tell my kids that I needed just a few more minutes in my office without interruption before I would come into the kitchen and make breakfast. Why is that a mistake? Because I need more than five minutes and they’ve already realized that and are already hounding me to come make their breakfast. Let’s just point out that I’m not ignoring them or choosing not to feed them; they literally woke up and then came into my office and asked for food. I have no idea how they can eat that quickly after getting out of bed.

It seems wrong. Either way, I really need more like 15 minutes, and now I’m just making excuses. Before that, I made the mistake of taking a sip of my coffee knowing it was fresh and hot and that it would burn, but I was ready and couldn’t wait another few minutes. Now my mouth is numb and I’ll never be able to taste another sip. I make mistakes all the time; seriously, like 76 times a day if not more. I’m only human, and that’s just how we are. We make mistakes in every aspect of life. But the good thing about mistakes is that we can so easily learn from them. I can learn from my mistakes so that I know better the next time around.

The same is true of those who are paying off their debt. You can make mistakes in this process. They might not make you feel very good about ever getting out of debt, but your mistakes can make you feel as if you are doing the job you were meant to do when you learn from them, take something from them and walk away feeling more confident and free. We’ve asked around to those who have been in debt, paid it off and made mistakes along the way. What mistakes were the worst? What did they learn from them, and how can that help you?

Not Creating A Plan

The best way to pay off your debt and get your life on track financially is to create a plan. Without a plan, there seems to be no real point. When you create a plan, stick to it and keep on track, it makes the entire process that much simpler and that much more manageable. Small goals along the way will keep you motivated.

Not Rewarding Yourself

Something that sounds like a great plan to me is giving yourself a little wiggle room for a reward when you meet a goal or cross a milestone. If you want to continue on that path, why not create small rewards along the way. You pay off your first card, so now you treat yourself to a nice bottle of wine. How about you’re done with paying off half your debt, so you take yourself out for a massage? When you deprive yourself, you are more likely to fall off the wagon and overindulge. When you reward yourself along the way, you’re less likely to put a dent in your progress.

Not Snowballing

There are people who love this idea, and people who hate this idea. I feel as if this is a good idea, and so do many formerly in-debt Americans. The snowball is quite simple; you take your debt, you pay off the smallest one first, take that payment and put it into the next debt and you continue to pay them off in that order. You pay them off small, then much faster. It’s called a snowball for a reason. The reason so many people wish they’d gone this route is to keep themselves motivated. When you pay off a small debt, you motivate yourself to want to keep paying them off quickly and efficiently because you want to feel that feeling of power and satisfaction that comes with paying something off for good.

Not Saving

One thing that people often regret doing is putting every penny into their debt, but not saving for an emergency. It sounds like you might want to pay off your debts before you save for anything else, but you do need something to use if you do have an emergency. We love the idea of putting all your additional income toward your debts, but how is that helpful if your car breaks down and you have nothing to pay for the repairs with? Try to saving at least $1,000 and then apply everything to your debts.

Not Cutting Lifestyles

If there is one thing you really have to do to save money and pay off your debt, it’s cutting your lifestyle expenses. It’s not fun, it’s not enjoyable and no one likes to do it. However, would you rather skip out on dinners out, Sunday brunch and vacations for a year so you can pay off your debts, or would you rather spend the rest of your life enjoying these things while paying interest and not getting yourself out of your financial downfall? It’s really a very simple solution, but you have to be willing to make that sacrifice.

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