The following is a guest post from Ben Edwards, the author of Get Out of Debt Like the Debt Heroes: How 21 Ordinary People Paid Off Over $1.7 Million in Debt. You can still get his book for FREE — but today is the last day and then the price goes back up to $2.99!!
Eat Pray Love is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert who went from miserable to enlightened by taking a one year trip to three places: Italy, India, and Bali. As she traveled, she learned how to take care of herself and her best interests. Similarly, if you want to pay off your debt and stay out of debt, you, too, will need to learn how to take care of, and look out for, yourself.
1. Spending to impress people won’t make you happy.
Before Gilbert took her whirlwind trip, she tried to fill her life up with people who weren’t good for her.
Similarly, many people who are in debt try to “buy” friends by paying for everyone’s drinks or meals out or lavishing them with gifts. True friends will stick with you no matter if you spend a lot of money or not. Make sure you spend time with those who support your efforts to become free from debt and don’t mind doing more frugal activities with you so you can save money.
2. Learn to believe in and care for yourself.
Gilbert knew what she had to do to take care of herself–travel around the world, spend time alone (for the first time in her life!), and find herself. Yet, she pushed the thought out of her mind for years because she didn’t think it was feasible.
You may not be able to imagine a life without debt. After all, everyone has a car payment, right? Student loans take 20 years to pay off, right? Not necessarily. You don’t have to live with debt. It’s possible to live a debt free life. In fact, 50 years ago, most people had no debt besides a mortgage. If you want to be debt free, you can. That way of life can work for you.
3. You must accept a new way of life.
When Gilbert finally made the decision to spend a year abroad, most people thought she was crazy. She was putting a successful writing career on hold to do this, yet she remained true to her convictions.
When you decide to get out of debt, you’ll need to learn to sacrifice and give up some of the luxuries you are used to. You’ll probably sell things, and people may worry that you’re being too radical. However, trust that you know what is best.
The process of getting out of debt can be painful and long. Once you are debt free, though, you’ll experience a life of financial peace that you may not have even been able to imagine at the beginning of your debt free journey.
4. You should be open to new experiences.
Gilbert, who wanted to shun any romance on her year-long odyssey, ended up finding the man she would later marry at the end of her year abroad. Even though she had sworn off relationships, because she was open to new experiences, she entered a relationship with her future husband.
Many say that as you become more responsible with your money, more money will flow your way. Don’t ask me how this works, but it does, and many people have experienced this. Be open to new job offers and new connections that can take your life in a different direction. As you become more and more responsible with your money, more and more opportunities will likely come your way. Anticipate them and be open to them.
Eat Pray Love is one woman’s story of becoming spiritually enlightened and finding peace with herself. The journey to becoming debt free can be a long, difficult one, but just like Gilbert, you’ll likely emerge with a better knowledge (and acceptance) of yourself as well as peace with your finances.
To read the profiles of 21 people who found some peace by paying off debt read through the new book Debt Heroes. All together the featured people paid off over $1.7 million in debt, just think what you could do with that much money!
Ben Edwards is a co-author of the Debt Heroes book and writes about money over at Money Smart Life.