Getting out of debt is easy on paper. You already know what to do. Look at all your expenses, separate needs from wants, drop most of your wants until you can divert your savings into debt repayment. Bring in more money if you need to.
This post isn’t going to tell you the details of how to manage your funds because you already know what to do. Telling someone to get out of debt is like telling someone to lose weight. We all know how to do it yet there are so many of us are still in debt. It’s easy to judge yet much harder to do.
I got out of debt after many tries. While repaying my debt, I was happier and healthier. How did I become happy when I couldn’t spend money on restaurant outings? I ate better by cooking healthy foods and focused on what I had instead of what I wanted. Paying back every nickel (we don’t have pennies in Canada) was rewarding and I was even sad when I had no more debt to pay off.
Why Are You in Debt
Look back into your childhood and figure out where you went wrong. Hint. It’s likely because of your parents.
Jack’s parents taught him to spend every single penny (on crap) in order to live life to the fullest. Julie’s parents taught her that life happens no matter how much money you have so there’s no point in saving for a rainy day or planning ahead. Figure out your story because you have one.
Question your parents advice. Are they retiring with a padded fund or are they excessively spending on a fancy renovation and going into retirement with a mortgage. Don’t take advice from parents that have no purpose dolling out advice. If you have financially successful parents, then listen to them. Otherwise, find another role model.
Figure out why you are spending. Look at your friends because they are the JONESES NEXT DOOR. You are likely to be spending like you are and it doesn’t make it right. They might have a lot of debt too behind their nice condos and expensive car but that is not your problem. Focus on your debt because debt chains you up. Don’t tell me that it’s ok to have consumer debt because everyone else has some. Our consumerist society has successfully convinced us that buying crap makes us happy and that it is ok to put it on credit. That’s bullshit.
Doing all the reading you can on how to get out of debt isn’t going to do a damn difference unless you act on it. Wait, are you saying that you are going to implement your plan once you have figured out savings, frugality and investments? No, start NOW. Don’t buy that coffee. This is like thinking you are going on a diet after you finish eating that pie and research all the different diets and exercise routines out there.
In order to get out of debt, you need to find your NEW YOU. You will drop some friendships that are superficial and dragging you into debt through expensive vacations or entertainment. Your routine will change. No more 15 min stops at Starbucks for a latte every morning. Instead make your coffee at home, froth your own milk and put it into a Starbucks travel mug. They do have good travel mugs and no, the company is not lining my pockets.
Change will happen so accept it with your arms open. It will make your life better and you will sleep better since you won’t be stressing about how to pay your bills. Maybe you will look for a better paying job or you might even get a second job while you repay your debt. I did it and it was worth it. It is hard to spend money when you have no time.
Focus on Health
Admit it, you have spent a lot of money on junk food, restaurant outings and maybe cigarettes. You work hard so you think you deserve to eat out because of the long work days. STOP THAT. Instead, look up some youtube videos on how to cook foods you love. And stop smoking. SMOKING is a LUXURY. It takes a toll on your health and costs a lot.
By buying less crap and wanting less, you start focusing on wanting what you have. Find free activities and do stuff with what you have. Get rid of stuff that is cluttering your life. What, you need an expensive gym membership to be in shape? No. You don’t even use your gym membership anyways so cancel it now. Go out the door and go for a walk to appreciate your neighbourhood. Start running outside even if it is raining or snowing. Find free body exercises you can do at home and don’t spend a nickel on it as there are plenty of free resources online.