How to Stay Motivated to Stick to Your Debt PlansDec 20, 2016
You started 2016 with the best of financial intentions, eager to work towards controlling and reducing your debt and saving for your top financial priorities like purchasing a home, building an emergency savings fund or setting money aside for your retirement. As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take stock. Were you able to stick to your plans for reducing and controlling your debt? Did you make any progress toward saving for your other financial priorities?
If the answer is no, don’t worry. You are certainly not the only one to get sidetracked when it comes to setting intentions to manage and reduce your debt. What is important is using 2017 as an opportunity to get back on track. Here are six tips that will help you stick to your debt plans:
1.) Write down your goals
It may seem simple, but in order to keep your financial goals top of mind, write them down. Listing and recording your financial intentions for the year ahead will help make them more concrete and will allow you to review them from time to time in order to monitor your progress.
2.) Make them SMART
In addition to recording your goals, it’s important to create goals that are SMART. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and bound to a certain time period. This type of goal setting is valuable because it incorporates detail, allows you to track your progress. Seeing real progress is what helps to keep you motivated and on track with your financial and debt relief plans. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides an online Financial Goal Calculator that can help you craft your own SMART financial goals.
3.) Use online tools
In addition to the FCAC’s Financial Goal Calculator, there are several other online tools that can help you stick to your debt plans. The FCAC also has an online budgeting tool, as well as a mortgage calculator and credit card tool. Online budgeting apps like Wally and Mint are easy to use, accessible, and can be helpful with tracking and planning your spending, savings and debt control plans.
5.) Know when to ask for help
If you find your debt is overwhelming and you are not sure how you will be able to stick to your plans for reducing and controlling your debt, take the next step and seek some form of professional debt advice. A not-for-profit credit counselling agency, for example, can provide counselling services that focus on restructuring your budget and credit education.
6.) Reward yourself
Working towards reducing and controlling your debt isn’t always easy. To stay motivated, it’s important to reward yourself when you have accomplished one of the goals included in your debt plan. Your reward doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or expensive — it could be something as simple as enjoying some “me” time or going out for coffee with a friend.
What are your debt plans for 2017? How will you stay motivated to accomplish your financial goals. Join the conversation and share your thoughts with BDO Midland using the hashtag #BDODebtRelief.