Treat paying off debt like earning a raise.

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by OnwardKnight

I have been talking to a good friend about this idea for a while and he just doesn’t seem to get it and I don’t know why. I really want to help motivate him towards attaining the life he wants for himself and his family.

To me, the amount of student loans my wife and I have are the biggest obstacle between us and the life we want to live. Saying goodbye to $600 of our hard-earned after-taxes dollars KILLS ME every month. That’s why we live incredibly frugally and have a singular focus of being debt free by the age of 30 (we’re 26 and have around $50k left).

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A year or so ago I was in a real motivational slump when it came to paying off debt. It happens. But then one day I started adding up all of the monthly payments we no longer had either due to trimming the budget (bye, Hulu) or paying off credit card balances, our cars and other things. That’s when I realized that the amount of monthly payments we no longer have to make is around $700! Using this nifty little calculator for some helpful visualization I realized that the $700 per month was as if we gave ourselves a $4.04/hr raise over the last three years. Or, put another way, $8.4k annually (after taxes).

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Life is hard, debt sucks and it often seems insurmountable. Especially if the total number is in the tens of thousands owed. How much of a raise would you be giving yourself by paying it off? Any other mental tricks/illustrations you guys would recommend to help motivate a friend into not thinking their own debt situation is hopeless?



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