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Staying motivated when dealing with debt

Whether you've just started a debt solution with us or it's been active for a while, it can sometimes be hard to keep a positive attitude. Dealing with debt can often mean big changes to your budget and how you manage your bills. It can also make you feel like you're missing out on what you enjoy in life.

You've come so far just by starting your debt solution, and we're here to support you however we can. In the meantime, we've put together some handy tips to give you some extra motivation:

  1. Write down your money goals
  2. Keep a debt diary
  3. Nominate an ‘accountability buddy’
  4. Plan some little rewards in
  5. Visualise your progress
  6. Keep learning about debt and what your rights are
  7. Talk to others who are also dealing with debts
  8. Read success stories from other clients

1. Write down your money goals (and look at them every day)

A great way to maintain your motivation is to write down a money-related goal that you want to achieve. How you do this is up to you. It could be as simple as a single word, a 3-point plan, or even a quote. 

Write your goal on a Post-it note or piece of paper and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. This could be your bathroom mirror, the fridge door, wherever works for you. Every time you’re reminded of your goal and how you’ll feel when you reach it, it should give you an extra boost to stay on track. 

here are some examples of goals to help you get started. 

I want to stick to my debt solution because... 

  • I want a fresh start 
  • I have a big savings goal in mind (e.g. buying a house, getting married, going on holiday)
  • I'm really proud of myself and I know I can do it!
  • I want to prove to my kids that there's always a way to tackle life's challenges

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2. Keep a debt diary 

A debt diary can really help keep you motivated. You can use it to track your spending each day, and reflect on what’s going well and what hasn’t been. 

You can also use a diary to keep track on how your debt solution is progressing. For example, if you're on a debt management plan, you'll get monthly updates on your balances. Write these down so you can see the progress you're making each month. 

if you set yourself a money-saving challenge (such as a 'zero spend day' where you commit to buying nothing at all outside of essentials), you can keep track of how it went. You could ask yourself questions such as:

  • Was it easy or difficult? 
  • At what points of the day did you struggle to keep up with the challenge you set yourself? 
  • Did you find that it helped you towards your goals? 

By using a spending diary you’ll be less likely to lose your motivation. It's easy to overlook the small but important victories you have each day or week. Writing them down serves as a good reminder that working towards paying off your debt is worth it in the long run.

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. If they're also dealing with debts, you'll have an understanding of what the other person is going through, which can make you feel less alone.

4. Plan some little rewards in (you’re allowed them!) 

Having something fun to look forward to can help you feel less overwhelmed. You could set rewards for every time you: 

  • Stick to your budget during a food shopping trip
  • Have a 'zero-spend' day 
  • Get a reduction on a household bill 
  • Gave up or reduced a costly habit such as smoking 

The rewards don't have to cost anything either! They could be: 

  • A visit to your local park 
  • An afternoon spent watching boxsets or playing video games 
  • Getting stuck into a new hobby like drawing 

 If you don't want to set the rewards based on achievement milestones, you could have 'time' milestones instead, such as every month, every six months, or even every year – whatever keeps you on track.

5. Visualise your progress 

Spreadsheets and budget templates are great tools to use during your debt solution, but they're not always exciting. You could create a 'debt thermometer' or other fun visual that you can colour in to show how much progress you've made. 

If you know when your debt solution ends or you have an upcoming milestone (such as one year into your debt solution, if it's longer than a year), you could get a wall calendar and cross the days off until you reach your goal.

6. Keep learning about debt and what your rights are

Knowing where you stand and learning what you can do with money is key to keeping motivated. Our monthly MoneyAware newsletter is packed with money-saving, money-making and budgeting tips. 

Our Debt Info section also has lots of great resources on topics such as:

7. Talk to others who are also dealing with debts

There are several online communities where people who are dealing with debt can share their experiences and get support. 

Our Facebook page is also a great place to connect with other clients who know what you're going through.

8. Read success stories from other clients

People just like you are putting their debts behind them for good every day. If you need a bit of encouragement, you'll find several inspiring stories from clients just like you on our reviews page.

Want more tips to help you during your debt solution? 

We have lots of great articles that can help you get the best out of your debt solution. They include:

You can also find lots more helpful resources in our Clients section.