Simple Steps To Pay Down Debt

Money Files

Most of my clients are scared of debt. Society has created rules and regulations around when it is “okay” to get into debt. Going into debt for a house or car is normalized , but accumulating debt on shopping or healthcare is taboo. There is so much negative talk about debt that you might feel shame about your own credit card balance or the need to use credit.

Today’s episode is about changing how you think and feel about debt. I share several helpful tips for managing debt, strategizing a payment plan, and overcoming feelings of overwhelm and shame. Debt can afford you amazing things, and having debt does not mean you are bad with money. So tune in to learn how you can make peace with your debt and take back control of your finances.

Are you ready to make peace with your debt? Start with these steps to improve your relationship with money, overcome feelings of shame, and start paying down debt with confidence.

[01:08] Learn to think of debt as being neutral.

[05:10] Make peace with your debt.

[08:20] Create a budget so you can see where your money is going.

[09:12] Prepare to pay off the debt with a clear strategy.

[11:18] Be consistent with your plan to pay off debt.

[12:35] Celebrate along your debt payoff journey.

If you want to change how you think about debt, tune into this episode of Money Files!

If you’re ready to improve your relationship with money and start making moves towards your financial goals, apply to work with me so we can create a plan to get you there.


Transcript for “Simple Steps To Pay Down Debt”

Hi, and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now, I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Money File. So I want to talk to you today about debt. I feel like debt is something that is very scary for a lot of my clients, and it probably is something that you have thoughts and you have feelings about, and your debt makes you feel funny, it makes you act funny. And so today I want to talk to you about actually positioning yourself to pay down debt. And the first thought I want to offer you is that debt is neutral. And when I say neutral, like literally debt is neutral. And the way that I want to talk about and help you see this is that think about you are $5,000 in debt. The only reason that debt has power is because your thoughts bring it to life. If you are in a position where you’re making $300,000 a year, maybe you think that $5,000 worth of debt isn’t actually a lot of money.

Or maybe you’re making a hundred thousand dollars a year and you think that $5,000 of debt is a lot of money. Or maybe you’ve never actually been in debt before and you have just incurred a $5,000 debt. And so you feel a lot of pressure to pay it off. It’s the same $5,000 in three different circumstances, and the person in each circumstance is the one who gives that debt power. And there’s a lot of, like in our society, we talk a lot about like good debt or bad debt. I know I had a client once. We were talking about her husband needing dental surgery and she was really stressed about how they were going to pay for the dental surgery. And I suggested to her like, how about you actually charge the dental surgery on a credit card? And I remember watching her brain be really baffled that I would suggest that they take on debt to pay for her husband’s dental surgery.

And I was like, well, what’s interesting is like you have a car and you have a car payment and you don’t have any second thoughts about having a car payment, even though that’s debt or you have a mortgage payment and you don’t have any thoughts about having a mortgage payment, even though that’s debt. Like I have a mortgage that when I first got it, it was like $370,000 and I knew I’m going to put my mortgage payment into my budget. But that is technically debt, credit card debt, student loan debt. Like there are a lot of different types of debt, but our debt has power based off of how we think about our debt. And based off of what people tell us are acceptable forms of debt. Like you could have debt to buy a car, but you shouldn’t go into debt for dental work.

You can have debt to pay for a life-changing surgery, but you shouldn’t use debt to buy clothes. So there’s a lot of rules and regulations that we have created around debt, but I really want you to think about debt being neutral. And the reason that I want you to think about debt being neutral is because when you’re in a season of your life where you are like, okay, I want to pay down my debt, I want you to have a good relationship with your debt. And the reason I want you to have a good relationship with your debt is because it’s going to impact your ability to be able to pay off your debt. I’m thinking about another one of my clients who, her and her husband worked with me and I remember on our consult call, like she was telling me how she was like throwing money at her debt and like her debt wasn’t budging or she would throw money at her debt and then she would need to use her credit card to pay for something. 

She didn’t have a good relationship with her debt, she had a lot of thoughts and feelings about her debt, which prohibited her from actually having a plan to pay down her debt while also leaning into the other areas of life that she wanted to nurture. And so that’s why it is like for me as a coach, I want my clients to have a good relationship with debt. And the reason I want you to have a good relationship with debt is because it’s actually going to help you pay off your debt. So the first thing I want you to do, if you are in a position where you’re like, I’m looking to pay down my credit card debt, or maybe you’re looking to pay down some medical debt, or maybe it’s an IRS bill, whatever it is, like I want you to make peace with your debt.

I’m going to say it again. I want you to make peace with your debt. And so when I talk about making peace with your debt, I want you to ask yourself and I want you to actually answer the questions. It’s better even if you write it down on paper. But I want you to think about what opportunities has debt afforded you? Maybe your debt allowed you to get out of a really bad situation in your life and it allowed you to get an apartment so you had safety. Maybe your debt allowed you to create memories with your family. Maybe your debt gave you an opportunity to start your business. Whatever it is. Like I want you to think about like what opportunities has debt afforded you and how has your debt supported you. And so by answering these questions, I just want you to be able to reshape how you’re thinking about your debt.

I think about my student loan debt, I started to think about that debt. And if you’ve listened to other podcast episodes or you’ve heard me talk on Instagram, I’m like, my student loans, which they were $70,000 plus. I’m like, they bought me some of the best relationships in my life and I could have regretted going to the school that I did. I could have regretted having taken out student loans and being uninformed. But I really started to think about my student loans as buying some of the best and most valuable relationships I had in my life that have benefited me through adulthood. And so having that reference and that frame of mind allowed me to be able to actually pay off my student loans because I wasn’t in a position where I was like hating my debt or I think about like I’ve had debt even in my business and I’ve taken out debt for coaching programs and I have been able to name for myself what the return of investment is. 

If I hadn’t have invested in coaching on a credit card or invested in coaching on a website, I shouldn’t say that I wouldn’t have been able to progress, but that debt helped me accelerate my growth in my business. That debt helped me actually have a website where people and you’ve probably been to my website. If you haven’t go visit, it’s beautiful but people have been to my website and they’ve been able to be connected with my mission and how I want them to feel about money. And so those are the opportunities that debt has afforded me and how debt has supported me. I have been able to make peace with debt and I don’t make it mean anything.

I have debt because I have a mortgage and my mortgage allows me to have the same payment each and every single month on my house. And I’m so thankful for that. I’m paying less than I would be paying if I lived in an apartment, but I truly have made peace with that debt as well and so it’s important that we look at our debt and really make peace with it. And I want you to be able to neutralize it because it’s going to allow you to be able to actually pay off your debt, instead of getting into a place where you’re like shaming yourself about the debt. 

Step number two for paying off your credit card. I want you to actually create a budget and the reason I want you to create a budget is because it’s going to help you see where your money is going. So when I’m working with clients and we’re talking about paying off debt, I’m not just wooing. And when I say wooing, like I’m not just in this mindset space where I want them to be neutral about their debt, want us to have like an actual budget where we can really think about, hey, where’s our money going each month? And how do I want my money going out? When I’m thinking about how much money I have coming in, like how do I actually create a plan that makes me feel really good about how I’m spending, that makes me feel like I can be intentional when I am ready to start accelerating how fast I’m paying off debt. So step number two is to make sure that you have a budget. 

Step number three is I want you to actually prepare to pay off the debt. So when I talk about preparing to pay off the debt, I want you to be really clear, like what’s the strategy that I want to use? Some people may want to use a snowball approach, some people may want to use a debt avalanche approach. Some people may want to bounce back and forth in between those two strategies. But I want you to prepare and think about like in your budget, where can I actually consistently pay more than the minimum on a debt? So that’s what the preparation is going to look like. And so you’re not judging yourself, you’re just looking at the math of your numbers and you’re thinking about here’s my concrete plan for paying off my debt. 

As you prepare to implement that plan, it’s going to allow you to objectively look at, okay, like is this the plan that I actually want to go with? How do I want to monitor my progress? If I’m paying an extra $600 a month towards my debt, what can I expect to see happen with my debt each and every month? And one of the other things that I help my clients do inside of my five month coaching partnership is like I help them, there’s a framework that they can use to actually identify like, are they still bleeding out when it comes to their debt? And so basically making sure that they’re in a position both mindset wise with how they’re spending their money to actually begin paying down their debt so they can accelerate their process and being able to pay off that debt sooner. And if you listen to my client Lauren’s podcast, you’ll hear her talk about how she paid over $30,000 worth of debt off while we were working together and we most definitely identified with her budget, how she wanted to be spending her money.

We helped her prepare so that way she wasn’t adding to her debt and just identify whether or not she was bleeding out when it came to increasing her debt. And then what we want to do is we want to make sure that we work the plan. You have a plan and when you’re paying off your debt, you want to make sure that you’re being consistent with your plan. I don’t even want to say sticking to the plan, but I want you to be consistent. When I’m working with people that have a lot of anxiety about getting their debt paid off really quickly, I always go back to the fact that we have a plan. This is why we’re doing what we’re doing. The plan says that we’re paying an extra $500 a month. The reason that we’re paying an extra $500 a month is because it’s going to help us pay this debt off in the next six months. 

After we pay this debt off in the next six months, then we’re going to be able to go to this plan. But also while you are paying off this debt, what’s also happening is that you’re building your savings and you’re preparing so that you don’t have to use your credit card the next time you need to take your dog to the vet or the next time that your car breaks down. So I want them to be able to look at both sides of the coin in terms of like why they’re working the plan, why we’ve put the plan in place. And you can do the same thing when you’re paying off your debt, being able to really connect to your why and why you are working the plan in the way that you are. And then the last thing I want you to do is I want you to celebrate along your debt journey, your debt payoff journey.

You may have four figures worth of debt. You may have five figures worth of debt, you may have six figures worth of debt. Wherever you are, I want you to be able to celebrate. Celebrate seeing your balance go down to $500 from month to month. Celebrate seeing your balance go down a thousand dollars. Celebrate your debt going from six figures to five figures. From five figures to four figures. Like I want you constantly celebrating so you can see your own progress. Being able to see your own progress is going to keep you connected to your plan. It’s going to help you realize, okay, here’s the plan. The plan is working. And if you feel like the plan isn’t working, then you can always go back and evaluate why the plan might not be working for you. Like what’s actually happening and you could be looking at your credit card statements and maybe you need to tweak the plan, but the goal is for you to work the plan and celebrate your progress.

So thank you so much for tuning into this episode and do not forget I gave you work in this episode. Like if you hear nothing else in this episode, the thing that I want you to really hear is that I want you to make peace with your debt because being able to make peace with your debt is going to allow you to release your anxiety. It’s going to allow you to reduce your shame and allow you to see your debt in a different way. So you are primed and in the perfect position to pay down your debt. Alright, I will talk to you next week and have a great one. 

Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to and let’s get started.

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