Publicly Acknowledging your Debt Payoff Victories
When you’re working really hard to get out of debt, it can be extremely tough to stay motivated. Sometimes you need to take time to reward yourself for your progress. Sure, it feels great each time you knock off one of your debts. But you may need a little more incentive than just a good feeling. Intentionally rewarding your debt payoff progress can be a good way to stay motivated on the long road to debt freedom.
The concept is simple. Putting the concept into practice is just as simple. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. You just have to plan ahead. Knowing in advance what the reward is helps you work toward that goal.
Here’s how to make it work: Each time you pay off a debt, set aside a little money and treat yourself. Go to a movie. Get a massage. Have dinner at a restaurant. Buy yourself something you’ve had your eye on for a while. Be sure to set limits before you start this, though. And make the reward proportionate to the debt you paid off. In other words, don’t pay off a $100 debt and go buy yourself a $200 luxury item. Try sticking to a 10-15% ratio, where your reward is worth 10-15% of the debt paid off.
This doesn’t work if the treat is something you’re already doing or buying on a regular basis. If you’ve been serious about your debt elimination, you have probably already cut a lot of things out of the budget. These are things that you can now use as a reward. There are other options for your rewards but these will give you a good starting point.
This also doesn’t work if you don’t have the discipline to stick to the process. If you aren’t going to work hard to pay off the debt in the first place, what good does the small incentive give you? Similarly, if you’re constantly cheating on the budget and debt payoff plan already, the rewards approach may just give you more incentive to cheat on the budget rather than diligently paying off the entire debt first.
Finally, when you get the last debt paid off, it’s time for a big reward. Throw a party! Burn the contract or shred the mortgage. Maybe invite your friends and family over to help you celebrate. Especially the friends that made fun of you along the way. How cool would it be to showcase the results of your hard work with your biggest critics along the way. Sounds like an under-the-table way to rub it in their faces, but it’s really a way to share your success and maybe inspire others.
Readers, have you used a rewards system to help you stay motivated in your debt payoff goals? What rewards kept you on track? Leave a comment to share your story!