How to Pay Off Debt Even When You Hit a Setback

Here’s my little Happy New Year gift to you. I’m bringing you a simple, concrete, and easy plan to put in place tip to fuel your efforts to Save Money, Pay Off Debt and Be Awesome this year. Looking for a quick plan? Well, this might not be the right place for you. Most things done well take time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t begin to implement systems in your life that will help you achieve your goals. I’ve said it many, many times before. Paying off debt isn’t complex. It’s just not easy. You have to punch the clock daily and do the hard work. Here’s another way to make that happen.

Don’t Quit, Even When You’re Weary

Spoiler Alert: No matter how much I paint it to be a big party, there are days when paying off debt just isn’t any fun. You will grow weary. The needle will seem slow to move. You will wonder if you’ll ever be done with this journey … if it really makes that big of a difference … if you should just quit and throw in the towel.

It’s not a question of if those days will come, but merely when. Maybe you’re there today. Maybe it was last Thursday. Maybe it will be next Thursday. I can’t count the number of times we were cruising right along and then unexpectedly BAM! I was hit with an enormous wave of discouragement. In all reality, our debt-slaying journey was only around 1,455 days (who’s counting right?) but there were days when it seemed like it would NEVER end. “Please put me out of my misery, I don’t really care anymore, why for the love of Mike are we still walking this road?” days.
For me, it was wise to pause and at least acknowledge these days, to realize and rationally engage what was going on. Ignoring them would have been unhealthy. Remaining in the emotion for weeks on end, also unhealthy. When I faced my fears and discouragement head-on and battled them as fiercely as the Debt Dragon himself, I was able to soldier on and keep my feet on the path.

Here are a few ways we stayed on track to paying off debt when we were discouraged and wanted to quit.

  • Realizing that my current emotions were probably brought on by a specific set of circumstances.

    Discouragement came when we had a setback. A car blew up. I needed a root canal. The Princess Eldest needed braces. The temporary circumstances caused us to pause our efforts and care for an immediate need, losing what seemed like way too many seconds of precious time slipping away like sand through an hourglass. Temporary circumstances are just that, temporary. You will be back on track before you know it.

  • Distinguishing between envy and discouragement.

    I might have mentioned my fondness for parties of pity. I pray that your soul is nothing like mine. But there were days when I stomped my feet two-year-old temper-tantrum style, declaring that it wasn’t “fair” for everyone else to be living like they were Robin Leech interviewees while I ate rice for lunch, again. In these cases, the discouragement was brought on by my own greed. I had to own it. It was no one else’s fault that we had wracked up so much debt. Getting out of debt wouldn’t come from anyone else’s efforts either.

  • Relishing in my faith.

    Taking my eyes off of me and worshipping God typically brings me back to a place of realizing that I don’t really have things that bad. I’m not saying this works all of the time. I can be a stubborn nut to crack. But in times when I am discouraged and I actively seek God, my feet are redirected and my heart refreshed.

  • Talking to a friend.

    I love my friends. Admitting to someone else that you are feeling low and want to quit might be a good course of action for you. Sometimes my friends would commiserate with me. Other times, they had the wisdom and brash love to call me on the carpet so I could move beyond where I was at emotionally.

If you’re feeling weary, can I encourage you for a moment? Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t let the fear of the present overcome the victory of your future. While it seems like your destination will never be reached and your quest is pointless, it isn’t. Every time you throw in the towel, you actively choose to remain in your current situation just a little bit longer. Wouldn’t you rather have those days on the side of victory? Wouldn’t you rather be able to give more, to save more, and, for heaven’s sake, to actually enjoy the money you make rather than wallowing in worry and fear?

It’s worth it. Battle on, Lords and Ladies. Battle on.

Cherie Lowe
Cherie Lowe
Since 2008, Cherie Lowe has been confidently wearing a plastic crown and encouraging others to dream big dreams. Together with her husband, Brian, Cherie paid off $127,482.30 in a little under four years. She scribed the ups and downs of their "debt slaying journey" on her popular website, More than anything, she longs for others to know that there is hope for getting their finances under control. Her new book, Slaying the Debt Dragon , was published January 2, 2015 and is available wherever books are sold.

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