Things You May Feel When Paying Off Debt

Paying off debt is hard work. If paying off debt wasn’t hard, then everyone would be doing it. You may come across many challenges, you may feel tired, and at points you may even feel defeated. There are many things that may weigh you down when paying off debt. While thinking about this may seem negative, I think…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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Things You May Feel When Paying Off Debt Paying off debt is hard work. If paying off debt wasn’t hard, then everyone would be doing it.

You may come across many challenges, you may feel tired, and at points you may even feel defeated.

There are many things that may weigh you down when paying off debt. While thinking about this may seem negative, I think that today’s post can help you overcome difficulties that you may experience.

Instead of letting challenges that you face completely stop you from moving forward, you should know that many of the obstacles you come across are things that you can push past and move on from.

Too many stop their debt payoff journey because they feel as though there are no other solutions, that they are the only ones going through the process, and so on. However, that’s not true. Keep trying because you won’t get any closer to your goals if you stop now!

Plus, paying off debt is all worth it.

It may take a long amount of time and a lot of hard work, but try to remember that you can still have fun on a lower budget.

Below are some of the feelings you may experience when paying off debt and what you can do to change it around.


You may feel tired.

While you may feel tired of paying off debt right now, you need to remember that you won’t always feel this way and that it will all be worth it later.

Eventually, you will be able to get more sleep and you will be able to sleep better knowing that you won’t have debt hanging over your life.

The articles below may help you so that you are more motivated about paying off debt:


You may have to make sacrifices.

Sacrifices may need to be made when paying off debt. You may have to change your spending behaviors, avoid places like the mall, cut your expenses, and more.

While it may seem tough, especially in the beginning, it will get easier over time. If you fell into debt in the first place because your spending was out of control, then it may be even harder due to the fact that you may be used to spending more than you have.

However, that doesn’t mean that cutting back is impossible.

I recommend bookmarking your favorite debt blogs and podcasts, going on a no spend challenge, redoing your budget, looking for ways to make more money, and more.



You may be bored.

This is a feeling that many end up experiencing, but don’t let this one get you! There are many ways to have a great time on a low budget – even if you have no budget for fun at all.

You can take part in free events and festivals around your area, head outside for a hike, walk, jog, etc., go to your local library, use coupons, and more. Find more ideas at How To Have Frugal Fun.


You may feel like keeping up with the Joneses.

One thing that many find hard about paying off debt is that everyone around them is most likely still spending a lot of money.

It can be very tempting to stop your debt payoff journey and keep up with the Joneses around you. You may feel jealous and wonder why others can spend money when you cannot.

Well, looks can be deceiving. You don’t know what kind of financial situation that the other person is in. They may have more debt than you do!

There is no need to spend just to spend. You should make purchases that you actually want to make.

Next time you feel like you should spend money for no reason, you should stop and think about what’s actually bugging you and if you truly believe that spending money will cure whatever problem you are dealing with.


Paying off debt is all worth it.

Paying off debt can have many positives.

I paid off my student loan debt quickly and while it was extremely tiring, I wouldn’t change it for the world. There were many sleepless nights, 100 hour work weeks, and more, but I always reminded myself that this wouldn’t last forever and that it would be 100% worth it in the end.

There are many positives of paying off your debt. These include:

  • Happiness. No longer having debt means that you’ll have more money in your pocket. That makes everyone happy, right?!
  • No longer living paycheck to paycheck. By eliminating your debt, you will hopefully have learned better money management skill which will then allow you to start saving for other things in life such as retirement.
  • Feeling in control. Debt can make a person feel like they are controlled by lenders. By getting rid of debt, you will feel much more in control of your life and your financial situation.

How do you feel when you’re paying off debt? What do you do to remain positive? How do you think debt free life will be for you?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Oh yes it happens when you are on a budget and you are paying off debt, however sometimes also when you are debt free you can have same feelings…

    1. Faiz

      nice but I don’t like posts talking about debts

  2. Great article Michelle. I think some of those pitfalls or negative feelings when paying off debt can be avoided or reduced by structuring how you pay off debts to work how your brain is wired. We all love to achieve goals and milestones, that’s how online games work by feeding gratification through gamification – which is born out of psychology. There’s a bit of info about that in my recent goal setting article on my blog. If you figure to pay off your debts in a way that’s achievable and you see results fast (for example paying off smaller debts first) you start to feel like you’re getting somewhere and it bolsters your efforts.

    When I paid off a hefty credit card last year in just 6 weeks I felt pretty damn amazing about it. I only expected to pay it off within 9-10 weeks originally but achieved it more quickly because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel which made me work harder and live even more frugally. The card debt was a drop in the ocean compared to bigger picture but achieving that one goal was awesome.

    It’s so, so important to structure little rewards for yourself as well, once you hit milestones, to avoid feeling tired or bored and to avoid the feeling of making too many sacrifices.

    1. Congrats on paying off your credit card in 6 weeks!

      1. Unfortunately I’m on it again this year, currently a 1/4 of a way through the pain but this year’s goal is two cards and $8k. This first half stretch always sucks but I’m determined. 2016 is my year to really nail debts.

        Sidenote for you Michelle – not sure if others find this, but I always struggle to find the Post Comment button in the leave a comment form, just a bit of UI/UX feedback for you. I think you should make it standout better, it blends in too much with the text boxes. Hope you don’t mind me pointing it out. I have a suggestion if you want…

    2. Thanks. It was tough! And tough again right now since I’m doing it again but there’s no greater feeling that reaching the goal and kicking a debt out the door. I can’t wait to turn my goals to earning more though.

  3. I do experience this! Have huge education debt and I’m trying to clear it off building passive income. Still, I’m living in an expensive country, so the debt payment happens quite slowly. I’m happy making a progress every month though 🙂

  4. When you have a long debt payoff timeline in front of you, it is really easy to get bored or tired. It becomes that much more important to find a way to keep your motivation up, such as an accountability partners or visual cues to remind you of your goal. It can be a long journey. You need something to help keep you going.

  5. Removing debt reduces stress. We focused on the end goal to help keep us motivated. Thinking about what life would be like once debt free and having a surplus of cash to build wealth.

  6. It’s certainly true that having debt clouds clarity of thought. Like you mentioned in the beginning of your blog started back in 2011, blogging can be a great way to generate supplemental income towards paying off student debt and more. Blogging can do more than pay off debt. When anyone takes blogging seriously and build their blogging business from scratch with unique content, it builds the online reputation to the point where as they can generate a full time income alongside a day job or having no day job. Additionally, a stable blog generating hordes of traffic and generating stable income put anyone in the positive position to pay their home mortgage, utilities, purchase a brand-new BMW-Mercedes-land rover-Ferrari-Lamborghini-Rolls-Royce-Maserati and more. People who owe any kind of debt feel a heavy cloud over their mind because it’s a financial requirement yet to be met.

    For anyone reading this blog comment, always know listening to Michelle and taking heed to her advice will help you achieve goals beyond paying off debt. She knows what she’s blogging about. 🙂

  7. It has been years since we paid off debt, but I still remember how it felt. It was frustrating but exciting at the same time. We fought off burnout by creating smaller goals to shoot for along the way.

    1. Yes, creating smaller goals is so important!

  8. Tyler @ Oddball Wealth

    Very true, paying off debt is a lot like losing weight, if it was easy everyone would do it. It takes time and dedication. Great post!

  9. Paying off debt can definitely be exhausting. It’s hard to be diligent for so long. We owed my parents some money for a car we bought from them, and I had to just keep thinking about how good it would feel to have it gone! It’s SO nice not to stress about owing money to anyone.

    1. Yes, I bet it feels so good for you now!

  10. Megan

    I think it would be great to read about the feelings around paying off debt too. Like you feel awesome, but you also have be careful not to jump back into debt as celebration.

    1. That’s a great idea for a blog post! Thanks, I’ll be adding that to my list 🙂

  11. Zascha

    It sucks to see the money go every month, but you’re right: it’s sooo worth it in the end. And I speak from experience! 🙂

  12. Sarah

    Great article! People seem to hate making sacrifices and want to live in the moment, rather than plan for the future.

    1. Abhilash P S

      No Sir I haven’t had debts.

      1. Good job! P.S. I am a female 🙂

        1. lol – no comment on that one.

  13. Dane Hinson

    I always look at the emotions throughout debt payoff as a bell curve. In the beginning, you set your plan and your excited to chop down debt. In the middle, you begin to get bored and are tempted to deviate from your plan. Then toward the end once you see light at the end of the tunnel you become ecstatic and almost obsessed with reaching that $0 balance.

    1. Great way of thinking about it 🙂

  14. Yes, the high balances can make it hard to stay motivated. It’s all worth it though!

  15. We paid off our debt two years ago and it took us two years to pay off. During that time, it was hard getting through it but keeping the end result in mind is what kept us going. Keeping up with The Joneses wasn’t really an issue for us because we really don’t care what other people think 😉 However, there were times I would think we could have so much more in our savings or take a trip but it’s a sacrifice and sacrifices do pay off. The feeling of being debt free is amazing!

  16. Toni |

    When you’ve been living above your means for a long time it makes it very difficult to pay that debt down because then you have to over adjust the lifestyle you should have been living all along. And that makes you feel even worse because ask your friends are still going out, buying toys, and having fun. We’ve been there and done that so many times before, but thankfully we were finally able to become debt free after attending a Financial Peace University video series at our church by Dave Ramsey. It is the best decision we ever made!!

    We we’re already paying over $1,000 a month to our credit cards so once we stop spending and focused our payments that helped a ton. We lowered our high 401k contributions to give us more money to pay down the debt. Once our credit cards and cars were paid we focused all of that money on our mortgage and were able to pay off our home in 16 years versus 30. That day in 2014 was the best day of our marriage knowing that as we get older we don’t ever have to worry about where we will live and how we will afford it.

    You can do it!

    1. Paying off debt is so worth it!

  17. Yes! Paying off debt is hard. It takes time and sacrifice. Great post!

  18. So far my debt repayment process has been interesting. Some people understand what I’m doing while others think that it’s ridiculous. I’ve had a couple people tell me that I will always have debt. The biggest thing that I’ve had to do is sacrifice some things. My friends invite me out to do things that cost more money that I’m willing to spend. I’ve missed out on trips and other events. I tell myself multiple times each week that this is only temporary.

    1. Yes, it’s only temporary! Good job Jason for sticking with it.

  19. Jen

    I can completely see where it can be boring. When I limit myself on a monthly entertainment budget, I have to be extremely creative to keep my mind busy instead of shopping or dining out. This is all very realistic!

  20. Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility

    I think the hardest part of paying off the debt was that feeling of being deprived. Nothing could derail my plans faster than having a little fit and then going on a vengeful spending spree…against myself. I always rebalanced and got back on track but it wasn’t always easy! Thanks for the great advice!

  21. Alexander Vishnevsky

    Interesting post!
    I have a small debt, but prefer to get rid of it as soon as possible.
    I agree, to live on a lower budget is a nice idea, ’cause you can still have fun in life.
    What’s more, you’ll have more TIME in such a lifestyle.
    And what can be more valuable than time?
    Mexican proverb says something like this: “Rich people are not those who have lots of money, but those who have lots of time”.

  22. Veronika Boog

    If you ask me, paying off debt is not what I put on first place. Only what matters, is to find way to live with it. Maybe I am speaking this way because I have few small debts and have no trouble to finance them.
    Trouble would be if I had big dept which is result of my irrational behavior. In that case first of all they must work on themselves.

  23. Fervent Finance

    Paying off debt is awesome, and once it’s all paid off you feel like a million bucks 🙂

  24. It absolutely is better to stay away – sometimes, sadly, there is no choice.

  25. Great read.
    Thanks for the great advice

  26. Thanks for publishing this — seriously great motivation. I have $40,000 of college debt that I am currently trying to pay off within the next 2.5 years (already $10,000 paid off). It’s a lot of sacrifice, but the payoff at the end will be worth the heartburn now.

    1. Yes, definitely will be worth it!

  27. Yup, I have felt all of these! Still trying to pay off my pesky student loans! I found your site to be very insightful and keep coming back for more 🙂

  28. Amy @ DebtGal

    So true! I can relate to being bored. It can old minimizing expenses, but I’m confident that you’re right about paying off debt being worth it. 🙂

  29. Michael

    I’m just patiently waiting for my W-2s for a little extra cash to pay off one of my two remaining student loans. Even though I know that ideally I should be close to $0 on my refund. Feels great to see that “paid in full” notice.