5 Reasons You’re Not Paying Off Your Debt Quickly

April 7, 2017

5 Reasons You’re Not Paying Off Your Debt Quickly

This blog post is part of the Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) blog tour, sponsored by US Equity Advantage. PDMD is a solution that accelerates debt payoff and helps consumers monitor their credit and make smarter purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to pay off debt, find out how they can help.

Yay! You’ve made the decision to get rid of your debt! How exciting! You are excited, right? Or has that initial enthusiasm subsided a bit because the debt is not disappearing as fast as you expected it to?

Paying off your debt is a lofty undertaking, and it is not uncommon to become disillusioned with the path to debt freedom. The challenges, sacrifices, and temptations that you’ll encounter along the way are enough to make you want to give up at times.

If you are more than a day into your debt-free journey, then you have already discovered that your debt is not going to go away instantly or without some effort on your part. And maybe you were realistic about that going in, but you certainly thought things would be moving a bit more quickly.

First, let me give you permission to extend yourself a little grace. Paying off your debt is HARD. If it wasn’t, then everyone would be debt-free. So, if you’ve had setbacks, gotten off track, or are not where you thought you’d be at this point in your debt free journey, give yourself some grace. Instead of beating yourself up, assess the reasons you are not paying your debt off quickly and make the decision to get to work and make some changes.

Many factors and variables contribute to the success of your debt-free journey. Let’s review a few reasons why you’re debt is not disappearing as quickly as you hoped.

1. You’re Not Budgeting

Having a budget (and sticking to it) is an essential component of a successful debt-free journey. Budgeting allows you to plan in advance what you will spend during the month so that you can see exactly how much you have available to put towards your debt.

Without a budget, your money will undoubtedly go to other expenses and purchases and will run out before you get around to paying off your debt.

If you are not budgeting or if you are kinda sorta budgeting, it’s time to tighten things up and commit to sticking to your budget. Is following a budget hard? YES! Will you “mess up” and overspend some months? YES! But you will see that the more you budget, the easier it will become. Getting to see how much money you have available to throw at your debt will make you look forward to budgeting each month!

Related Reading
•   How to Do a Zero-Based Budget
•   How to Budget When You Live Paycheck to Paycheck
•   Win a Free Year of EveryDollar Plus

2. Paying off Your Debt is Not a Priority

You want to get rid of your debt. You really do, but you also want to do a gazillion other things, and when it comes down to it, paying off your debt is low on the list.

This is not very scientific, but if paying off your debt is not something that occupies your thoughts, and I mean seriously occupy (i.e., you are thinking about it all the time, strategizing new ways to pay off more, etc.), then it is not a priority. And as long as paying off your debt is not a priority for you then, well, you won’t see much progress.

If you want to see the debt disappear quickly, then you will need to be intentional about making that happen. Decide that working on getting rid of the debt is one of your top priorities—even to the exclusion of some things (but not everything).

3. You Lack Discipline

Achieving an ambitious goal like paying off your debt (and doing it quickly) requires a significant amount of self-control and discipline. You may not be seeing the progress you had hoped for because you struggle in this department.

A lack of discipline, to an extent, got you into debt in the first place, so it’s time to exercise your discipline muscle. And know, it really is just that—a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will be.

Be careful of just throwing your hands in the air and declaring “I’m just not disciplined,” or “I just don’t have self-control.” You sell yourself short by making those statements. You will gain discipline simply by practicing it.

4. You’re Not Focused

You may be working on attacking the debt, but you may also be doing seventeen other things with your money, and by doing that, you dilute your efforts.

At any given time while you are paying off your debt there are always going to be multiple distractions fighting for your attention and the attention of your wallet. It is up to you if those distractions will take priority over your goal to pay off your debt.

Even positive things can be a distraction if they take you away from your goals. Muster up the courage and ability to say no to anything that does not support and further your efforts in paying off the debt.

Related Reading
•   4 Habits You Must Adopt to Win with Money
•   Do You Have What it Takes to Pay Off Your Debt?

5. You Don’t Have a Concrete Plan

It’s possible you’re not seeing much progress in paying off your debt because your plan looks something like this: pay off debt.

You’re going to have to get more specific than that. Have you identified a target date for when the debt will be gone? Do you know how much money you will throw at it each month? In which order are you paying off your debts?

Devising a plan or tweaking the one you have in place will ensure that you are aiming for a specific goal instead of just the idea of paying off your debt.

Strategies to Help You Pay Off Your Debt Faster

So we’ve covered why you’re not paying off your debt as quickly as you hoped. Now, let’s look at how you can kick things up a notch.

Revisit Your “Why”

Remembering the “why” behind deciding to do a crazy thing like pay off all your debt will help you regain focus. What is it you hope to accomplish by paying off your debt? How will your life be different when the debt is gone? Answering these questions will give you the motivation you need to stay the course.

Use Available Tools

There are several tools that can help you reach your goals. For example, with Pay Down My Debt, you can set up automatic bi-weekly payments for your loans instead of your regular once-a-month payment. In doing this, you make an extra payment each year on your loans, cutting down the interest and the length of the loans.

How Pay Down My Debt Works

  • Select the loans/bills to enroll
  • Decide on a debit schedule
  • Payments are deducted automatically
  • See your early payoff tracking, payment schedule, transaction history, and adjusted amortization schedule
  • $9.99/month which includes three loans (Get your first month free.)
  • Save on interest and pay your debts off faster

An advantage of using a tool like Pay Down My Debt is it guarantees that making extra payments is a priority and doesn’t leave room for “not getting around to” paying extra on your debts. While there is a cost associated with having a service make the payments for you instead of doing it on your own, if you struggle with budgeting, discipline, focus, or making your debt a priority, this can be a way to counter that.

Establish Mini-Milestones

Slogging your way through paying off thousands of dollars of debt can sometimes feel never-ending. Set yourself up for success by creating and celebrating milestones along the way.

You could make every $10,000 of debt (or any amount) a mile-marker, or perhaps paying off a particular type of debt (e.g., credit card, car loan, student loan) could be a “mini goal” you work towards. Like tackling any big goal, breaking it down into smaller chunks will make the goal more manageable. Having a celebration of some sort when you reach each milestone will give you something to look forward to.

Don’t Give Up!

Not progressing as fast as you thought you would is no reason to give up on paying off your debt. Instead, identify what it is YOU need to do to turn things around. Which of the issues we just covered is the culprit in your situation? Name it and then seek out strategies to combat it.

Be careful of sabotaging yourself by making more steps or engaging in habits that take you even further away from your goal. Rather, stay committed to your decision to pay off our debt, and you’ll be able to face the challenges that you may encounter along the way.

Don’t give up; you can do this!

Are you currently paying off your debt? Are you making the progress you hoped you would?

Are you working on paying off your debt but things aren't happening as quickly as you thought they would? There's a reason why. In fact, here's five.