Paying down debt can take time. But it’s not always easy to stay focused on tackling that debt, especially when your balance keeps gaining interest.
To stay motivated, try to focus on your goals and what paying off your debt could allow you to do, financial expert Patrice Washington tells CNBC Make It.
Your journey to becoming debt-free should not be about just paying off debt, it should be about what paying off debt represents for your future, Washington says.
Paying off debt is difficult. It can be very sacrificial and put you through a lot of deprivation, Washington says. That’s why it helps to stay focused on what you plan to do when your debt is gone.
Washington encourages her clients to put up reminders around their home of what they are working toward. It helps them focus on what’s next, she says.
“Keep what you want in front of you and it’ll really help you stay disciplined,” Washington says. By having a big ‘why’ in front of you at all times, you constantly remind yourself what getting rid of your debt will do for you.
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Ignoring your debt will only make it grow, since interest continues to build up.
“Having no debt sooner, quicker, faster is how you’re going to get to a place of peace much faster,” says Washington.
There is no such thing as ‘good debt,’ Washington says. The only good debt is debt that you do not owe anymore. Try not to think about things like student loans as costs you will continue to pay for the rest of your life. Make a plan that will allow you to pay those off sooner.
However, you should not be paying off debt before you start saving money, Washington says. These are two things that you should be doing at the same time. By saving money, you can insure that in an emergency, you have funds to cover your costs and can keep yourself from getting into more debt.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.