You’ve committed to paying off debt and have at least started your emergency fund. You’ve got a plan for paying off your debts: either the high-interest method or the snowball method. If everything goes perfectly, you’ll be out of debt at a measurable point in your future.
But then something happens. It doesn’t just rain – it pours. You rear-end someone because your kid just called you and told you the roof is leaking and the dog doesn’t look so good.
As you quickly calculate the damages in your head you realize that your dreams of being debt free have been shattered.
This is a Setback…
When you first start paying off debts, every dollar paid back feels like a victory. That’s because you’ve already committed to not going further into debt, so you can watch that debt go down with every one of those dollars. It’s exciting, it’s motivating, and it’s crushing when something happens that you can’t control that stops you from putting that next dollar down.
Not Game Over
You might be wondering: Is this it? Did I come all this way for nothing? It’s obvious the world is against me. I’m going to be trapped in debt for the rest of my life. Every time I get close I’ll just have another car break down or another repair to the house. Maybe I should just forget everything and put all this stuff on my credit card.
You’ve already come a long way in repairing the damage done by going into debt. You should be proud of yourself for saying NO to more debt, and for coming up with a plan.
A setback is just pushing the bar back a little bit. You still have what’s important.
You Have Everything You Need
Sure it’s depressing, but no one has good luck all the time. The important thing is you’ve developed the TOOLS and the BEHAVIOR to save yourself. Refusing more debt and having a plan is a lot more than most people have, and your setback doesn’t change that.
Even if the setback is so serious that you have to do something like borrow against your home to fix it, you still know exactly what to do once that’s taken care of.
Start Over And Hit The Ground Running
You either have new debt or a smaller emergency fund. No problem. If it’s debt, add that debt to your list – either by putting it in its place based on the interest rate, or in its spot based on the amount if you’re using the snowball method.
From day 1 you’re going to behave exactly the same. You’re going to fill up your emergency fund and keep hammering away on your debts. Yes, it’s going to take longer now, but see if you can use that to motivate yourself.
Get A Bit Angry
Get angry at yourself for letting this bother you. You had a plan and this setback barges in and disrupts your plans. How can you deal with that? Don’t just accept it: Fight back! That setback thinks it’s going to cost you another year until you’re out of debt – no way! Find a way to make more money. Sell some stuff, get a part-time job, tutor someone, walk some dogs, start a business, ANYTHING to lessen the impact of this setback.
That’s how you take charge of the situation. And guess what? Whatever you do to make a bit of extra money will still be around when you’ve got back to where you were. Now you’ve got even more money pouring into your debt and you’ll be completely debt-free that much sooner.
See? A bit of anger is a good thing.
Regardless of the setback, the key to moving forward is to remember simply that you’re in control and you can face this the same way you’ve faced all your other debt issues. If you continue to struggle with your debt and you need additional help, please fill out our online debt relief form. We will let you know your options and find a solution that fits within your budget.