Slay your debt in 2024 with a money challenge

By Miranda Marquit

Reviewed by Kimberly Rotter

Dec 28, 2023

Read time: 2 min

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Now that you’re starting to think about how to reduce your debt in the new year, here’s a money challenge that (we hope) will motivate you to take control of your finances and ultimately, destroy your debt.

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What’s a New Year’s money challenge?

A New Year’s money challenge focuses on an aspect of your finances that you want to improve in the coming year. You create a plan designed to keep you motivated throughout the year. One of the most popular money resolutions is to reduce debt. Let’s jump on that train.

Your money challenge should help you create a realistic approach to your debt and track your progress. Usually, as you reach milestones, you reward yourself with a special treat or celebration. This can help you stay on track because reflecting on your progress feels good, and positive reinforcement can keep you motivated.

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Tips for setting up a New Year’s money challenge to reduce debt

Make the most of your New Year’s money challenge with these tips:

  • Start specific and small: When I first started tackling my debt, I wanted to set a huge goal, like “get out of debt.” It was soon overwhelming. After shifting to a smaller, more achievable goal, I did much better. Your first milestone should be specific, and the closest one to your grasp, so you can get a quick win. “Save $100,” maybe. Or pay off a small balance. Set up your challenge to ramp up gradually throughout the year.

  • Track your progress: Create a goal tracker. Use it to keep tabs on how much debt you’ve paid down so you can celebrate your progress. A visual marker can keep you focused. You can also use a simple debt paydown app to show your progress.

  • Make it a game: Get an accountability partner you trust. If you have a partner, you can work on it together. Otherwise, challenge a friend to pay down debt or reach another goal.

  • Find creative ways to get more money: More money never hurt anyone. Well, okay, maybe it did, but when you’re digging out of debt, more money is a good thing. Get creative. Start a side gig. Sell your stuff.  

  • Get help from others: Get real, get raw. Park your pride at the door. Don’t be afraid to seek out community help, especially if you’re low-income. Can you get a week’s worth of groceries from a food bank and put the savings toward your debt? If there’s someone in your life who usually gives you a holiday gift, consider asking for cash instead. Open up and let them know why cash would be such an amazing gift this year. You might be surprised at how many people can relate to debt struggles and will respect and admire what you’re doing.

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Use debt resolution as part of your New Year’s money challenge

If you have a financial hardship and genuinely can’t afford to pay back your debts in full, talk to a debt expert about whether you might qualify for debt resolution.

Debt resolution is negotiating with your creditors to reduce the amount you owe. You pay the lower amount, and the debt is closed. 

You can resolve debts on your own, or work with a professional debt resolution company. Legitimate companies never charge upfront fees for negotiating debts.

If you qualify for a debt resolution program, you could get rid of your debts in 2 to 4 years. The way it works is that you make one affordable monthly payment, and expert negotiators work on your behalf to get your creditors to agree to lower the amount you owe. You could get rid of your debt much faster than by slogging along with minimum payments. 

New year, new plan, new you. When debt resolution is part of your plan, you might complete your New Year’s money challenge faster than you expected.

Author - Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is an award-winning freelance writer and podcaster who has covered various financial topics since 2006. Her work has appeared in numerous media outlets, and she is frequently asked to host workshops and appear on panels on topics related to financial wellness. She is the co-host of the Money Talks News podcast and a consumer finance advocate and spokesperson for moving hub HireAHelper.

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Kimberly is Achieve’s senior editor. She is a financial counselor accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education®, and a mortgage expert for The Motley Fool. She owns and manages a 350-writer content agency.

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