Dealing with enormous debt can be overwhelming. A structured and realistic debt payoff plan, however, can help you find relief.

After creating a debt payoff plan, following it to the letter can be the hardest part because it is easy to get discouraged when you realize the amount of time and sacrifice it takes to actualise results.

Below are tips you can use to help you stick to your debt payoff plan.

1. Have your plan in writing

Putting your debt plan in writing increases the likelihood that you’ll achieve it and is a way of committing to it. Don’t rely on your memory to keep up with your debt plan as you may forget crucial details along the way.

To make it easy to follow through, all you need to do is write it down, the due date, the minimum payment and the additional payment you are going to make if any. Once you start, adjust your plan as you pay off debts to track progress.

2. Make sure your payoff plan is realistic

You will not achieve the much-needed progress if your debt payoff plan is unrealistic. Be careful not to overestimate the amount you can pay for a specific time as it should be an amount you can reliably and realistically pay each month without foregoing necessities like food and rent.

3. Make extra payments when possible

Channel any money you were not expecting toward repaying your debt since this money wasn’t initially a part of your monthly budget, and you should be able to go about your life without it. This includes but is not limited to money from a raise or bonus or from cash gifts that come your way.

4. Stick to a budget

You cannot stick to your debt payoff plan without a budget. Strive to have a monthly budget that includes the money you need for day-to-day necessities, an amount for savings if any, your debt payments and the amount you can allocate to everything else. Throughout the month, refer to your budget to ensure you’re staying on course and readjust accordingly where necessary.

5. Track your progress

As time goes by, your debt goes down as well if you stick to the repayment plan. Tracking this progress will help keep you motivated to continue with the payoff plan. This may be in the form of an app, a notepad or creating a spreadsheet.

6. Exercise accountability

Make it your duty to keep yourself going. Accountability partners like family or friends with admirable financial behaviour could also come in handy especially when you feel unmotivated. They should be able to review your plan and periodically check in to make sure you’re sticking to it.

7. Stop taking on more debt

During this time, be disciplined and avoid taking on more loans as that pushes you further and further from the goal. Try living below your means and sticking to a budget so you avoid taking on more unnecessary debt.

8. Seek professional services

Investing in a professional such as a personal finance coach could help make a difference as they keep you on your toes by always reminding you to make your payments and being on the lookout for new sources of money for you. They may even be able to offer advice if you’re struggling with certain aspects of the plan.