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Created by me, Kelsa Dickey, the emotional baggage method prioritizes paying off the debt that is emotionally toxic. I created this method after years of coaching clients and realizing that how we feel about our money plays a very important role in the progress we make and our overall trajectory.

How it Works:

Typically this method is combined with one of the other methods. Let me explain. When you look at your list of debts, if there is one that reminds you of a bad financial decision or a difficult time of your life, and each month when you make the payment, you experience intense guilt, shame or regret, that debt becomes your first target.

Pay the minimum amount on all your other debts and pay all extra money towards this debt that makes you feel the most negative emotions. Once you have eliminated that debt, switch to another strategy that best fits you.

Who it’s best for:

This method focuses on the debt that is causing you the most stress, especially if it’s having an impact on the decisions you’re making today. If you have a personal loan to a friend or family member that has gone bad, or payments to an attorney after a particularly nasty divorce, these might be weighing you down and halting your progress.

If you look at your debts and think “I sort of hate them all equally”, then this strategy is probably not best for you. But if you look at your debts and one of them stands out to you, maybe you get a tight or sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, or it makes you want to avoid your money altogether, regardless of the reason, interest rate or amount, give yourself permission to get that out of your life by paying that debt off first. It will reduce the most stress and help stop you from reliving a bad decision.

Once you pay that toxic debt off, come back and take the Debt Payoff Quiz again to determine your best approach for remaining debts.

Does this sound like a strategy you can feel excited about? I’d love to hear what you think. Drop me an email at and let me know what you think of your results.


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