There's lots of good advice available on how to get out of debt. The reality though, is that getting out of debt can be a bit like dieting. Even though, ultimately, it can do you good, the process itself isn't necessarily a whole lot of fun.
Making it fun may be a bit too much of a stretch, but there are ways to keep yourself motivated. Who knows, you might even start to enjoy the challenge.
1. Be Reasonable With Yourself
You may have made some stupid mistakes to end up where you are now, but those are in the past. The key point now is to manage the situation you are in and to put yourself into a strong position for the future. If you only have a small amount of debt, you may be able to pay it back by going on a financial crash diet. In other words, you can pare your lifestyle down to the minimum so as to make the maximum possible debt repayments.
There is a limit to the length of time anyone could reasonably be expected to follow a strategy like this. If you try to keep going with this sort of plan for too long, then you open yourself up to the danger of blowing your budget. At best, you'll have a (major) set-back. At worst, you'll lose motivation to continue.
With this in mind, it can be better to pay back your debt a little more slowly so you have a bit of breathing space.
2. Work Towards Goals And Rewards
You don't have to wait until you are debt-free to celebrate progress. Set yourself goals to achieve along the way and allow yourself an appropriate reward for meeting them. The rewards don't even need to be financial. At the beginning, you can even just award yourself a certificate. Pin it on your wall and look at it every time you need a bit of a boost.
As time goes by and you begin to get more control over your finances, you can start to divert a bit of money from your debt repayments for small rewards to recognize your achievements so far. You can also start to think about what you'll do with the cash you're currently spending on debt repayments once you're debt free.
3. Get Creative And Be Flexible To Get Treats
Keep your eyes open for ways to get treats at lower prices. There are actually all sorts of options. Check magazines for old-fashioned, money-off coupons and check online sites for discount codes. Look for off-peak deals and last-minute offers.
If you're in or near a place where students study practical courses, then look out for colleges offering cut-price services carried out by their students. Squeeze extra benefit out of purchases you have to make anyway by signing up for loyalty deals. Try home-made alternatives to purchases you can't afford for now. Have a film night at home with supermarket popcorn instead of going to the cinema (and you can pass on the trailers too).
Try your luck with free-to-enter competitions (or ones which require purchases you were going to make anyway). Somebody has to win.
4. Keep Some Emergency Funds Available
If you're already in debt, then you want to avoid even applying for more credit, always assuming you can actually get it. You particularly want to avoid being in a situation where you are applying to high-interest lenders aka payday loan companies and the like. Leaving aside the impact on your credit score and the expense, this can be a very demoralizing experience after you've worked so hard.
Having an emergency fund will help you to cope with life's ups and downs without having to resort to more credit.