“You need a plan” is the piece of advice people get that is more easily said than done. Everybody wants to get out of debt, but the biggest problem people have is finding a place to start in the process. I’ve always been a big fan of the Getting Things Done process, and one of the best takeaways was the idea of the weekly review.
Taking a Sunday morning to go over the bills and build a tracker to follow your progress is always a good idea. Different formats work for different people: some prefer a notebook, while others will use excel or an online service like Mint.com. You can even download and modify one to fit your tastes here. It really doesn’t matter how you track your progress, just that it gets done so you can see where you came from, and where you’re going.
Getting out of debt will make you feel better. The first zero balance is always one of the sweetest in the process, because it provides a glimmer of light in the process. When you get to the second and third, you have momentum going for you, and you’ll find it’s like you have less of a load on your shoulders. Understanding that it is a process and not an overnight change is key.
With motivation in mind, I know a few people who keep track of how much interest that they paid in a given month, and how much they received (including anything like cash back rewards as interest), with the goal for the number to be greater each month. For them, the game works because they are always trying to get a higher score by doing things that they can control.
Take some time to get your debt tracker built, and next week, we’ll talk about debt payoff methods in the Sunday Morning Game Plan.
Until next time, go snack on some debt!