How I Ditched My Debt for Good

  • By Sandra Hanna
  • May 13, 2013

If you're in debt, you may have experienced this before: the moment when you get yourself together and finally sit down to tackle your debt you're thinking, “Yes, this is it, I got this!” But then it happens--you're suddenly surrounded by screaming ugly balances and you've just plugged your numbers into an online calculator that says you'll be debt free in 2075. Panic. At this point you may find yourself covered in hives and/or bolting for the door to shop or looking for the closest glass of vino. Been there.

A few years ago, I sat down to tackle my debt and I literally broke out into a rash. It wasn't pretty. But I did eventually push past that moment and, together with help of four girlfriends, finally became debt free and got my financial life together. That group of girlfriends and I coined ourselves the Smart Cookies and we even earned a spot on Oprah's stage to share our story.

Today, I'm debt free and have spent the last seven years co-writing two books, producing and co-hosting a TV show and running, but I think about that moment a lot. Over the years I've noticed something about that moment that sets the people who are successful at paying down their debt apart from those who start, but can never seem to follow through. It's something we did as Smart Cookies when we sat down together for the very first time and it's something I've watched thousands of Smart Cookies do since.

Those who are most successful at paying down their debt don't look at the numbers first, as in how much they have to pay down, or the number of months it will take them to be debt free. Instead, they think about how they'll feel when their debt is paid off. They know that feeling so well they can almost taste it. It's what they focus on to keep them moving forward, and what keeps them motivated to take those little steps that inch them closer and closer to being debt free.

Anybody can do it. Here's how it works. Get a piece of paper in front of you, and a pen in your hand. Now close your eyes and think about this: Your moment is here, your debt balance is ... a big fat zero.

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Tagged in: Credit & Debt