“But everyone has debt!” Is something I used to tell myself when I couldn’t sleep at night.
“Debt is normal!” I said to myself when I was rationalizing the expensive purchase of something
I didn’t truly need.
“I’ll get out of debt someday!” I’d say when I felt stressed by the growing balances on my credit card statements.
If you are in debt, don’t make these same mistakes I did. Here’s what NOT to do about your debt from someone who made all of these mistakes personally.
Don’t Give in to the “I Deserves” or the “I wants”
Just because you work hard does not mean you “deserve” those $300 shoes or that $2,000 vacation. What you deserve to do is keep working hard to pay off your debts and then save for those splurges.
Likewise, just because you want something doesn’t mean you should buy it, especially if you are in debt.
Controlling these urges is something you’ll thank yourself for later! It’s better to wait and work for it than finance it and pay big bucks in interest for years to come.
Don’t Ignore your Growing Balances
Every time a credit card statement would come in the mail, I’d have a mini-heart attack and would put off opening the statement as long as possible.
I was dreading seeing how high the balance had climbed since last month. Luckily, I didn’t take ignoring my debts to the extreme that some do. I did open all my statements and pay all my bills, I just didn’t like doing it.
Now that I’m making progress at eliminating my debts, I won’t say I enjoy opening my bills, but it is nice to see that balances going down each month.
Don’t Keep Spending Like Nothing is Wrong
This goes along with the first one. Once you are in debt and you’ve admitted it to yourself, you have to slow down your spending to minimize the damage. I didn’t do this until I had hit rock bottom.
If you take measures to slow down your spending you can at least lessen the damage you have done by getting into debt. Stop spending, sit down and figure out where all your money is going.
Once you know, make a reasonable budget you can stick to month in and month out. My budget fluctuates a bit from month to month based on what I have going on each month, but the basis of the budget is the same each month.
Don’t Blindly Follow Advice from the Experts
Ever since I’ve admitted my debt situation to myself, I’ve been like a sponge: absorbing anything and everything I can find about how to get out of debt. There are lots of methods and lots of stories out there, you don’t have to follow advice from just the most popular PF authors, in fact I recommend you don’t.
I’m glad I took the time to find out more about alternate methods rather than just blindly following the first advice I stumbled upon (which was Dave Ramsey by the way). While I agree with some of the advice from big name PF authors, I know everyone’s situation is different and thus I think everyone needs to follow the path that fits them best.
In the end, the basics of what to do and what not to do are the same. Admit your debt and take whatever steps are necessary to rid yourself of it, once and for all!
What did you learn NOT to do about your debt?
Shoeaholicnomore is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at Shoeaholicnomore.