If you are one of the many bloggers that worked to pay off your debt, then you know the sweet feeling that debt freedom can bring. Congrats by the way, for accomplishing an awesome life changing goal.
However, you might also realize that if you are not careful, old habits start creeping back. It might be using the credit card and not paying off the balance in full, not making monthly payments towards your savings (this is why pre-authorize monthly contributions are so important), tracking your spending or sticking to your budget. Whatever it may be, we all have our achilles.
Here are a three tips that can help you hit the refresh button on your finances and remain excited and motivated once you are out of debt:
- Rethink the priorities in your budget.
If you are aggressively working towards debt repayment, then your budgeting priorities are pretty straight forward. Spend enough to meet your basic needs, maybe put a little towards savings and put as much as you possibly can towards eliminating the debt.
However, once the debt is gone, you now have all this money to allocate. How do you make sure you allocate your money to what is most important to you? Well, instead of listing your expenses by category (i.e. transportation, housing, entertainment), list them by priority with the most important at the top of your budget, just below your income. For example my budget is currently categorized as: charitable donations, retirement savings, housing, food etc.
I found by taking this approach the top 5-8 items on my budget are non-negotiables and no matter what happens, I always find the money to put towards these expenses. As the list goes down, I tend to negotiate how much I am willing to put towards each expense. If you are a visual learner, this method works wonders because you can clearly see where your money is doing the most work. It also provides the added bonus of requiring you to do the exercise of what is most and least important to you.
- Re-listen to pod-casts that got you motivated in the first place
One of the biggest ways we stayed motivated to get out of debt so quickly was listening to like-minded people on YouTube and podcasts. Listening to Dave Ramsey’s guests do the debt free scream and to callers going through the same problem was life changing. If we found ourselves wanting to slip back into living with debt, we play these podcasts again to remind us of the sacrifice and motivation that allowed us to achieve the goal in the first place.
As time goes on however, and the debt is gone, you may feel the desire to slip back into old habits. Maybe it is not getting into debt for you, but you could save more. Whatever the issue may be, start listening to and engaging in the activities that got you motivated in the first place. The things that made you stand out and do things differently so you can have the things you want in the future.
- Gain a new perspective on looking at money
If your focus is on managing your money, then you are probably already following blogs, listening to pod casts and reading books on a specific topic of money that interests you. It might be debt repayment, side hustles or investing etc. When we are so focused on achieving something, we may gain knowledge in one area, at the exclusion of another. Strive to learn more about how others manage their money, even if you have opposing views on the topic. At best, you may gain new insight, at worst, your predictions would be confirmed.