Fighting Frugal Fatigue

The recent “Debt Free Like Me” webinar brought together three speakers who have each paid off over $100,000 in debt. We heard from a single mom, an entrepreneur who took a risk, and one half of a couple that started their debt free journey in their mid-50’s.  Each story was unique and powerful. Each story was inspiring.

After listening to each account, I was reminded of something I did constantly during my debt free journey. I constantly consumed stories from those who’d accomplished what I was then attempting. I loved to hear from those who’d dumped their debt. The success of complete strangers served as an incredible source of motivation during our 7 year process. Who knew I was fighting frugal fatigue?

We’ve done a post on Frugal Fatigue as identified by the National Association of Credit Counseling. It’s basically a scenario which causes your continued motivation for dumping debt to plateau. What’s missing are some tips to fight this phenomenon.

 Review your progress. Keeping a debt free journal will help you keep track of your celebratory milestones. I also liked to file past budget sheets. Reviewing my progress was a great source of motivation.

Plug into positive sources. I listened to the Dave Ramsey radio show most days and loved their Friday show with the debt free calls. This is how I drew energy from the success of perfect strangers. I loved hearing their progress because it was a constant reminder that debt freedom was possible. Reading, workshops, or hanging out online with the Debt Free Divas are also great sources of positive information and encouragement!

Recruit money buddies. This is such an important part of the process. If you feel supported, you’re likely to stay the course.

Build in breathing room. Our third panelist, Jeff Erhlich of the Debt Free Squad, called it a “No questions asked” category. Dave Ramsey calls it “blow money”. Allow yourself a reasonable amount of “treat money” so that you can maintain a healthy attitude toward debt repayment.

Set a Debt Free Date. Get together with other debt dumpers and swap stories, share notes, or otherwise encourage each other. Break bread and draw strength from your shared goals.

Be kind and rewind. We can all lose focus and intensity. If you get off track, don’t lose heart. Just pick up and start again.

Count your blessings. Dumping debt can be a long term process. When you focus solely on what’s left or how far you have to go, the process can seem overwhelming. Try keeping a gratitude journal. Seeing your blessings in black and white can produce contentment that aids your ability to maintain momentum.

Ultimately, dumping debt becomes a lifestyle modification. Adjusting your lifestyle to one conducive to getting out of debt will help you fight the frugal fatigue and stay focused on your fabulous financial future!

What other tips do you have to fight frugal fatigue?

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