How to stay motivated while getting out of debt

Whether you’re taking the very first steps to repay your debt or are have been dealing with them for a while, it can be hard to keep a positive attitude. We’ve found some really useful ideas to stay motivated when getting out of debt.

Staying motivated can be difficult when there’s a lot to take in, plan for and keep on top of. But don’t worry; you can use these handy tips right away.

writing in a planner

1. Write down your goal (and look at it every day)

A great way to wake up to an instant motivation builder is to write down what you want to achieve from being debt free. It could be as simple as a single word, a 3-point plan, or even a quote.

Write it on a Post-it note or piece of paper and stick it somewhere you’ll notice it every day – like your bathroom mirror or the fridge door. Every time you’re reminded of your goal and how you’ll feel reaching it, you’ll get an extra boost to stay on track.

2. Keep a debt diary

Give yourself something to look back on and see how far you’ve come by keeping a journal. You can record what’s going well and what hasn’t been, keep a debt checklist, and track how much you’ve been able to pay off so far.

As it’s you that’s updating it, you’ll feel more in control of your finances and where your money is going. So, you’ll be less likely to lose your motivation. It’ll be a great reminder that working towards paying off your debt is worth it in the long run.

woman talking on mobile phone

3. Nominate an ‘accountability buddy’

If you’re comfortable talking about your debts with a friend or family member, having someone to check how you’re doing can be really useful. Once a week, you can get together or call each other and review your spending habits.

Their support will help you stay motivated to keep going and, you never know, they might have some advice on making a budget and sticking to it too.

4. Plan ahead for any rewards (you’re allowed them!)

Setting milestones in your journey can help you feel less overwhelmed. Give yourself small landmarks along the way to track your progress and review your spending habits. They’re also the perfect time to give yourself a pat on the back for sticking with it (within reason, of course).

You could plan little treat ideas for the end of every month, every six months, or even every year – whatever keeps you on track.

5. Visualise your debt

Turning dull budget spreadsheets into a more exciting illustration of your debt could work wonders for your motivation. It might be easier for you to see how you’re doing with a thermometer you can colour in, or a timeline you can tick off.

We really like the look of these DIY bullet journals, using colour and lists to visualise your budget. Alternatively, we tried and tested some budgeting apps which can help you to see your finances from a different perspective.

calculator and budget papers

6. Keep learning about debt and how to avoid it

Staying in control of your cash is key to keeping motivated. MoneyAware is packed with advice and practical tips to help you avoid debt, save money, and budget.

Keep up to date with our latest articles about money-saving, money-making and budgeting to give yourself a head start.

7. Set yourself fun challenges

Why make budgeting boring when it can be fun? We’ve tried a fair few money challenges over the years, like tasty meals for under a pound, how much fun can you have for a fiver,’s downshift challenge, and the £3.21 Secret Santa challenge.

You’ll be able to keep yourself upbeat about saving cash and scrimping by setting fun challenges like those and seeing how you get on.

Have you got any other motivation tips or ways to make dealing with debt more optimistic? Tell us in the comments below.

Posted by in Living with debt