There are lies we tell ourselves about debt. Are you guilty of doing these?
We all hear it over and over again. Debt is bad! Do not get into debt!
While we know that this is how we should live financially, many of us just don’t listen. I don’t know why that is. Even I knew better and lead myself down a path of financial ruin (thankfully, I’ve recovered and will not allow it to ever happen to me again).
The thing is, I believed the lies and fell for the hype. I did not listen to what the so called experts had to say. I just did what I thought was right based upon what I was reading and had been told by others in my situation. The sad truth is that I was just lying to myself.
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The thing is, debt is bad. There is no other way to say it. You don’t want it. You don’t need it. So why then, do we all continue to believe the myths and lies? Perhaps it is because we just do not even know that is what they are. Here are some of the lies I told myself when I was in debt — and hopefully I help you realize them too.
1. Debt is needed for my credit score. The thing is, if you don’t need to borrow money ever again, why do you even need credit? You may think that you can’t get a mortgage or a vehicle loan if you do not have a great credit score. That is actually not true. Many of them will, especially if you have no debt.
It has been years since we’ve been out of debt. We cut up our cards in November of 2016. Since that time, we’ve had a mortgage and one auto loan (which we paid off in just 4 months). That’s it. And you know what? My credit is better than it was before I had the debt! I’m in the 800 club now and proud of it. I did not need a credit card to get there. I did not need debt to build that score.
So, you may think you need debt to increase credit, but that is really not the truth.
2. Everyone has SOME debt. Nope. Not everyone. There are many Americans who have no debt at all. Some do not even have a mortgage payment. Just like I tell my kids “If everyone was jumping off of a bridge, would you jump too?” Of course not. You have more common sense than to do that, right? Why then, do you think that just because everyone has debt that it is OK for you to have it too.
That was the way we thought about it. We thought it was normal to have debt. Turns out, we don’t want to be normal. Maybe you should try it too.
3. I am not good with money. Sorry folks. That is just not a good excuse. The internet has hundreds of thousands of resources available to help you learn about money.
If you don’t know about how to set up a budget….Google it. If you are confused about how to really set up a plan to get out of debt, you can just Google that too.
We live in a time where information is quite literally at our fingertips. The information is there. You just have to go and find it. No one is going to give it you. You need to do some work on your own.
4. I deserve to spend my money. I actually agree with you on this. However, you need to spend YOUR money. Not money you do not have (which is what a credit card is). If you don’t have the money in the bank to buy something, then you can’t just use a credit card.
It might make you happy in the moment when you buy it. However, how will you feel when you are still paying for the expensive dinner out 6 months from now. Probably not worth it as much when you look at it that way.
5. We are in debt because of an emergency. I am not doubting anyone that sometimes medical emergencies come up. There are instances where you lose your job and have to somehow get food on the table. Those are emergencies. These are things that you really did not know would happen.
Saying that you had to go into debt to pay your taxes is not an emergency. You know that your taxes are due at the same time, every year. That was a result of poor planning and is not an emergency.
It is important to always have a true emergency fund and to plan ahead for both the things you know are going to come up (such as paying taxes) and those that you may not plan for (like the furnace going out).
6. It was a great deal. This is one that can be a catch 22 for so many. Yes, we all love a deal. However, is it a deal if you are spending money on something you would not normally purchase?
This is all too common with people who start using coupons for the first time. They see all of these little papers sharing savings on them and want to use them. The sad truth is that many couponers actually spend more money when they start out than they realize. They are trying to use every coupon. However, if they are buying things they normally would not have on their shopping list, they are spending money just to save money.
The same is true with anything. Just because you see that it is good deal or on clearance does not mean that it is the green light to go ahead and buy it. Don’t spend just because. Spend with a purpose.
7. I don’t have that much debt. Any debt is bad debt. It is the truth. It doesn’t matter if you owe $50 or $50,000. The truth is this – you have debt. You have to take the steps on your own to eliminate your debt and change your way of thinking.
8. I just need to make more money. I don’t buy this one either. If you are already living beyond your means, what will more money do to help that? Chances are you will just live further beyond what you can afford.
More money is not a guarantee of not debt. Just look at stars who have had to declare bankruptcy and have no money. Just because you have more does not mean you can manage it well.
Learn to gain control of your money now – no matter how much you are making. Only then, will a pay increase help you to pay off your debts.
9. I will start my debt plan next month. Why are you waiting? What is the reason? It is like a diet. People so often say they will start it on Monday and then come up with an excuse and say they will start the following week. Before you know it, 6 months have gone by and 6 more lbs have been added to your waistline.
Start today. Don’t put it off. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be able to shout it loud – I’M DEBT FREE!
10. It is impossible to be debt free. This is one I totally understand as I once thought the same thing. We were a one income family with two young kids and were struggling to live paycheck to paycheck. There was no WAY we could do it. I could not have been more wrong.
We talked to friends who were in the same situation and gained support from them. We knew we were not alone. Together we celebrated the little victories. The key was that we needed to remind ourselves that anything was possible. It took us 27 months, but that $37,000 in debt was gone before we knew it. And that was the best feeling in the world.
Don’t fall for the hype. Stop trying to tell yourself these lies (and others you might be thinking about right now). Only when you believe the REAL truth about debt will you be able to commit and work towards becoming debt free.