Dealing with debt can often seem a lot more about what you can’t do than what you can. Bluntly, you can’t spend money on discretionary purchases because you need to put it towards your debts. This can be a serious downer, especially if you’re pushing hard to pay down your debt as quickly as possible. Here are some ways to make the debt-repayment process a bit less of a grind.
Visualise it as a path to freedom
Instead of looking on debt repayments as a way to beat a mountain of debt down to nothing try visualising it as a path to freedom. Keep that as a thought in your head and make it real by putting it into some sort of tangible form. Draw a chart, make a chain out of paperclips (or anything else), transfer marbles (or anything else) from one jar to another. Just keep reminding yourself, that you’re actually on a path forwards out of debt.
Take it as a challenge to find ways to enjoy life at little to no cost
Whatever it is you enjoy doing, there’s probably a way to go on enjoying it at little to no cost. This often involves a little patience. Remember, anything new generally carries a premium. If you wait a little and/or buy used, then the price will often come down. For completeness, there are a few niche exceptions to this, such as buying assets which can appreciate in value. These are, however, very much the exceptions to the rule.
For example, if you love film, then pass on the new releases. Regardless of whether they are in cinemas or go straight to streaming/DVD, they will cost the most immediately after their release. Wait a bit and the price will come down. Similarly, if you love fashion, ignore the rush to buy the latest “must-have” item. If it sells out, it will probably be restocked later. If you love books and magazines, then head to your library. In fact, the library is often a great place for film- and music-lovers too.
If you’re into the gym, then at least try working out at home (or outside) and getting help, advice and support online. In fact, even if you go to the occasional real-life meet-up, you’ll probably still save money as compared to a gym membership. What’s more, you have the option not to go if you can’t afford it whereas subscriptions have to be paid no matter what.
Treat it as an opportunity to clear up anything you’ve been meaning to do
If you’re dealing with debt, you’re probably not going to be spending much time going out socialising (other than to friends’ houses). Use the time you spend in your own house to deal with anything you’ve left “pending”.
For example, give your home a good, physical clear-out. Literally, go into every cupboard, drawer and shelf, look at what you have and decide if you need it or want it. If not, get rid of it. That doesn’t have to mean “bin it”. Just move it on. If you need to repair it first, then commit to repairing it or pass it on in need of repair (if that’s appropriate). On that note, if you’re keeping anything in need of repair, then deal with it.
See if you still have anything which could be digitised. If you do, deal with it. Even if you decide (or need) to keep the original, you’ll have the security of knowing that you have a back-up. Then go through all your digital files and see if you really need (or want) to keep them or if they are just “digital clutter”.
By doing all this while your activities are restricted, you’ll not only make yourself feel productive, you’ll be in a great place to move on when you’re debt-free.