Biggest Threats to Getting Out of Debt

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The following is a guest post written by Eliza Collins. Enjoy! 

Biggest Threats to Getting Out of Debt

Paying off debt isn’t easy, but you probably already realize that. Perhaps knowing which obstacles to expect will help you overcome them as you go:

Coming Up With the Money 

If you had the money to purchase everything you have, chances are you wouldn’t be in debt. You’re going to need thousands of dollars to get out of debt. Most people won’t have access to that kind of money all at one time, which means you’ll have to pay it off little by little depending on your ability to live below your income.
Track your spending and look for ways to cut back, making sure to spend the extra money on getting out of debt. If you get a windfall, like a bonus at work, put that towards your debt for an extra boost toward meeting your goal. Or, if you get a raise at work, automatically put the salary increase toward your debt rather than increasing your cost of living. Use a debt calculator to see just how much you’ll save on interest by putting more money into your payments.


Because it can take so long to pay off debt, it’s easy to get discouraged. You may not make as much progress as you’d like as fast as you’d like. You might feel like you’re sacrificing endlessly for a goal that’s so far away. Remember that every single payment is progress that’s putting you closer to being debt free than you were before you made that payment.
Look for ways to get motivated again. For example, calculate how much progress you’ve made since you first started paying your debt. Create milestones and do a small celebration when you meet one. For instance, you might go see a movie for every 25% of your debt that you repay.

Your Family’s More Immediate Wants and Needs 

The more people you support with your income, the more distractions you’ll have in reaching your goal. It may be relatively easy to get your spouse on board, but then you have to manage your kids’ desires to have what their friends have, what they see on TV, things they’ve seen on the Internet, etc.
Try allocating a certain amount of money toward wants. If your children are old enough, let them know the amount and give them the ability to decide for themselves. If not, make a list that they add items to and only buy things from the list when the wants fund gets big enough.

Lack of Support From Friends

While your friends and loved ones may say they support your goal, the true test comes when they want you to do something that doesn’t align with your debt goals. For example, your friends might ask you to go on an expensive vacation or to splurge on an expensive dinner.
Find less expensive ways to have fun with your friends, like a movie night or game night. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that would keep you from getting out of debt. People who truly care about you will continue to do so, even if you’re not spending money they way you used to. Alternatively, use another person as an excuse that is out of your control. Your boss at work is perfect for that!
Yes, getting out of debt is difficult. Yes, it takes patience. Yes, it could take several years. But you can do it! Don’t get discouraged by setbacks, major or minor. Just recommit yourself to paying off your debt and keep going.

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    1. Azra, ReadyForZero says:

      Facing unexpected financial set backs that get you further into debt are also tough one to deal with. That's why having an emergency fund is so important!
      My recent post What happens if I don’t pay my credit cards?

    2. Deborah Anderson says:

      That discouragement item. That is a biggie. It can really delay the process and slow a person down emotionally. I like the suggestion of calculating how much progress has been done–Looking at the cup as half full.

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