1. Make a plan.
A basic debt payoff plan should list each of your creditors, the total amount you owe, the minimum payment, and the amount you plan to pay each month. It'll be easier to stick to your plan if you include an estimated time that you expect to complete debt repayment.
2. Build an emergency fund.
An emergency fund helps you pay off debt because it keeps you from having to create more debt to fund unexpected expenses. The ideal emergency fund is six to twelve months of living expenses, but starting out with $1,000 is better than nothing at all.
3. Live by a budget.
A budget doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on a spending diet, though cutting way back might be a good idea to help pay off your debt. A budget helps you plan how you’re going to spend your money. Following a budget keeps your spending in check and curbs the type of spending that encourages debt.
4. Don't accumulate more debt.
Additional loans and credit card purchases while you’re trying to pay off debt will make it next to impossible to ever pay off your debt. You have to stop creating debt to pay off the debt you already have.
5. Make sure your debt repayment goal is reasonable.
At the start of your debt repayment, carefully think about how much you can put toward your debt and come up with a reasonable goal for paying off your debt. You’ll find yourself discouraged and unmotivated when you don’t reach a goal that was unattainable from the start.
6. Get your family onboard with your debt goal.Your family must understand and support your debt goal, especially if you’re the family’s breadwinner. When your family is against your goal, they’ll make requests and demands that create stress and hinder your debt progress. You’ll also have to be strong enough to say “no” to unnecessary requests that will keep you from paying off your debt.
7. Build a support system.The more people you have supporting you in your goal, the easier it will be. You’ll have someone to turn to when you’re feeling unmotivated or someone to talk you out of impulse buys and purchases you can’t afford.
8. Don't be swayed by advertising and marketing.Companies spend millions of dollars figuring out how to get you to buy things you don’t need or want. You can’t get away from advertising. However, you can strengthen your resolve not to be influenced by ads on television, radio, or internet. Shop with a list and give yourself a grace period before buying things that aren’t on your list.
9. Get information on debt repayment.There are dozens of blogs, books, and websites dedicated to talking about getting out of debt. Spend some time reading a few of them to get some ideas on how other people have paid off their debt.
10. Set milestones.
If you have a large amount of debt to pay off and your debt-free date is years in the future, you can easily become fatigued with your payoff plan. Create milestones to give yourself a motivational boost along the way. Milestones can be based on the amount of time that’s passed or the amount of debt you’ve paid so far.