Debt Repayment – The One Easy Trick That Keeps Me Motivated

With all my debt, I’ve found that the number one way I stay motivated is to feel like I’m constantly making progress. So I had to figure out how much I needed to put towards my debt to feel like I’m making progress. I call that number, your magic number.

How a Magic Number Works

$200 is my magic number. It doesn’t have to be $200 all at once, but a total of $200 over the course of the month, any less and I feel like I’m not getting anywhere.

The closer I get to $200 the more motivated I am. If I can get over $200, I’m even more excited. The more excited I am about a goal, the more motivated I am to get to the finish line, the less impact debt fatigue has on me.

Figuring Out Your Magic Number

Now, I didn’t start paying down my debt and automatically know that $200 was what was going to make the biggest difference for me. It took time, it took getting frustrated, and it took being stuck in more than one rut. Just like me getting to debt free is going to take a lot more $200 minimum months.

To figure out your magic number, try to remember what months you felt like you were actually making some progress. Look back at all your debt payments for those months and see how much you put towards your debt. Average out the amount and try it out as a magic number. If after that first month, you don’t get that feeling of making progress, then up the number until you find one that gives you the right push.

Subscribers Get Access: Money Roadmap

Subscribe to the Less Debt, More Wine Newsletter and take advantage of the subscriber benefits including instant access to the workbook!

Enter your info to get instant access. 


Don’t Go Too High – Set Yourself Up for Success

Sure, I wish I was able to put $1000 each month to my current financial goal. However, $1000 is not currently feasible for me to do on a consistent basis. A $200 minimum can be done consistently without me stressing out a ton. It is also enough to feel like I’m making progress.

Most months I do a lot more that $200, but this is why your magic number is the MINIMUM needed to feel like progress is being made. If you are stressed trying to reach an unlikely minimum month after month your going to lose momentum, and probably a lot of hair. As anyone that has or is paying off debt knows, if you don’t feel like you are making some progress, it is hard to keep going. Even more important is that progress is a relative term, and it is for you to decide what feels like progress.

Maybe my $200 doesn’t seem like much to you; maybe $200 wouldn’t feel like progress to you. That’s OK. It doesn’t have to feel like progress to you; you can figure out your own magic number.

Your Magic Number Will Likely Be Different From Mine

We already went over how to figure out your magic number, now make sure you aren’t comparing your magic number to other’s magic numbers.

It has been said before and as cliche, as it is, it is true- personal finance is personal. So I would urge you to figure out your magic number and not worry about how it compares to others. What amount do you need to feel like you are continually making progress?

The more you feel like you are making progress, the more progress you will make (I think that makes sense?). So rock your magic number to debt freedom, I certainly plan to.

A Tool that Can Help You Reach Your Magic Number

Your magic number should be one that sets you up for success. However, if you want to take it a step further, Qoins is an app that will automatically put money aside from your account and apply it towards your debt.

You have the choice to have it take the change after rounding up your purchases. Or you can set an average amount per week you want it to pull out and put towards your debt. Use Code: ELIZ0900 when you sign up for Qoins to get $3.00 towards your debt using the app.

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

Your magic number is the amount that you need to put towards your debt to feel like you are making progress. It should be something that can be attained every month.

It is the minimum amount you need to put towards your debt to feel like you are making progress. But you can of course, always put more towards your debt. If you need any help making sure you hit that magic number every month, you can always use a tool like Qoins. Use code ELIZ0900 to get an extra $3.00 to put towards your debt.

Once you figure out your magic number, you’ll be on your way to debt freedom.

Good luck! Let me know your magic number in the comments!

Money tools & resources i recommend

Chime (for saving) works by starting a spending account (takes 5 minutes) and opting into the automatic savings plan. (Learn more about getting started with Chime).  Every time I use the Chime Debit Card it rounds up my purchase to the nearest dollar and puts in in savings. Right now they also offer a double round-up bonus on those savings. All those withdrawals add up over time. Chime is free to use, with no monthly fees. With Chime, you end up saving money without having to think about it.

Qapital (for building savings & reaching money goals) Qapital can help you reach savings goals. Once you have the Qapital App installed and a bank account (or in my case three) connected you set up a goal or goals.  Then you set savings rules for each of your goals. For example, I have a round up to the nearest $2 rule, a guilty spending rule -when I buy Dominos. Qapital is free to useBonus, when you use my link you'll get $5 after your first savings.

Qoins (for debt repayment) When you sign up for Qoins, you connect your bank account and then spend as you normally would. Qoins will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that change towards an extra debt payment. Learn more on How Qoins Can Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

SoFi (for refinancing) If you have private loans or your debt to income ratio allows, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. Learn more about what it's like to refinance with Sofi. Refinancing my bar loan with SoFi ended up saving me over $1,000. Use my link to refinance your student loan and you'll get a $100 bonus.


Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

  • Oddly enough, I feel like I’m making progress *either* when I’m putting $500 a month to a goal, OR when I’m putting $100 a month to it. Numbers in the middle are vaguely unsatisfying. I haven’t got a clue why this is. 🙂

    • says:

      Well clearly 200,300, and 400 are lame numbers. lol. But strangely I think it makes sense, you definitely need to see that third number from the decimal move, and if you do it is progress but if it moves by two numbers it’s like eh, but by 5 numbers it’s like woah!

  • >