4 Tips to Avoid Temptation When Paying off Debt

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It's hard to avoid temptation when paying off debt, but it's needed to kill your debt. Here are 4 ways I've been able to avoid triggers and save money.

I’ve been aggressively paying off debt all year, and I find the harder I work to pay down debt, the more difficult it is to avoid temptation, which I see all around me.

I’m sure you can relate if you’re also in debt repayment mode.

Marketers are smart, and they are skilled at making consumers want to buy, buy and buy some more. So, below are four tips I use to avoid temptation when paying off debt. Hopefully, they can help you too.

Roll Up all Deal E-mails


I use a program called which is great because you don’t have to go cold turkey and unsubscribe from every single deal e-mail that you get. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to buy my kids winter socks, so it’s helpful to know when Old Navy or Target is having a sale.

With, you sign up, select the e-mails you want to “roll up,” and you’ll get one e-mail per day with all the e-mails in one place. will even unsubscribe you from e-mails with one click, so you can go through and unsubscribe from your trigger stores if you want without having to even open an e-mail and get tempted.

Stop Walking Around the Mall


Ah, yes. The mall. Here in Michigan, it’s been snowing off and on all winter, so heading to the mall to walk around inside is a good way to escape the cold and let the kids get out some energy.

Unfortunately, walking around the mall makes me want to spend all my money. All my favorite stores are there in this beautiful mall with tons of different floors and buildings. There is also ice cream, which is obviously a weakness for many people, not just me.

Lately, I’ve had to find other ways to entertain my kids (and myself!) since the mall isn’t exactly conducive to saving money.

Watch Who You Spend Your Time With


Jim Rohn, the well-known speaker, says we are a sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So, if you spend time with spenders, it’s going to be a lot harder to save.

Think about it. If your friends go out to eat all the time and invite you out often, it’s going to be hard to turn them down. However, if you have friends who love to spend time at home enjoying a potluck with other friends, it’s a lot easier to bring over a side dish and save.

It's hard to avoid temptation when paying off debt, but it's needed to kill your debt. Here are 4 ways I've been able to avoid triggers and save money.

Unfollow Facebook Groups


One of my big weaknesses lately has been buying my kids clothes on Facebook mom groups. I tell myself that because they are used or deeply discounted that it’s okay for me to buy them. However, when I start to buy too much of them, that affects my debt repayment goals.

So, if you have similar tendencies and love a good deal, it might be wise to unfollow all of your buy/sell/trade Facebook groups. Ruth Soukup, the popular business owner behind the Elite Blog Academy, recommends that business owners unsubscribe and unfollow everything on Facebook except their own business page. I’m working through that advice right now, but it’s definitely a process!

Ultimately, when it comes to aggressively paying off debt, you just have to pay closer attention not only to your spending but to where you go, who you spend time with, and what you see on a day to day basis when you go online.

As I mentioned previously, marketers are smart, and they are trained to get us to spend every day, whether it’s with a Facebook ad, targeted e-mail, or an awesome sale in the window as we walk through the mall (I’m looking at you, adorable baby stores.)

However, when you’re laser focused on debt repayment, you have to ignore everything that’s trying to distract you away from your goals, and sometimes that might include the things you really like, including spending time with certain friends or surfing Facebook.

If you need help getting rid of debt, check out our posts on 25 Ways to Start Paying Off Debt Now and How to Be Proactive About Paying Off Debt.


Have you paid off a lot of debt? What did you do to avoid temptation while doing so? What are some other tricks you’ve found to be helpful when trying to reach a financial goal?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • Kathy says:

    Avoiding temptation when paying off debt is very similar to losing weight. When I lost 60 pounds some years back, I suddenly developed cravings for things I never paid attention to before. I couldn’t walk through the bakery department without wanting to buy a 6 pack of cupcakes or a donut. And this was after years of seldom having sweets in the house other than our annual Christmas cookie baking. I learned I have to avoid going through departments that give me the most trouble, and forget about buying them thinking I’d ration them out! They wouldn’t last 24 hours. So your advice Is good…..don’t go to the bakery(mall) and don’t think one little splurge is good because one leads to another and another…..

  • I’ve never heard of but this is exactly what I had wished there was but didn’t know about. I’m really excited to give it a try. I’ve eliminated my email subscriptions to nearly all stores, but often miss them for those few times that I do shop and wonder if there are discounts I could be using.
    I’ve nearly eliminated my Facebook time altogether after going through Ruth Soukup’s productivity course. It’s been huge-both on my productivity and not wanting to buy more things.

  • I used to think window shopping was good for me, but I think it only inspired and motivated me to buy more clothes! I watched a film about minimalism that showed me the darker side of buying new clothes all the time (who makes them, how much they are getting paid, etc), and that truly helped me stop, which in return helped me save a lot of money.

  • I agree with Kathy. Avoiding temptation when paying off debt vs losing weight is such a good analogy!

  • Syed says:

    I’ve used unroll me with great success. Cut my daily emails by more than 50%. All these companies and shopping centers would love for us to stop paying off debt and start buying stuff again. They are the enemy!

  • Stephen says:

    Temptation is a killer on budgets! It’s best to avoid the internet around black friday/cyber monday and Boxing Day(if you’re Canadian) to not get sucked into the great deals on things you wouldn’t have bought anyway

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