Have you ever gone into debt before? Statistically, I can safely assume most of you have in one form or another. Let’s take mortgages out of the equation. Have you ever gone into consumer debt or a smaller loan?
What was the moment like when you realized it was going to happen? How did you feel?
I felt like crap.
You see I saved for months for a car with the goal of not needing to finance one. I thought I was going to be okay. But as I thought more long-term about my purchase I realized debt was inevitable.
Again, crappy feeling. Yet I also feel it wasn’t as shocking to me because I already have student debt. My car loan is a solid few thousand dollars. For a new grad it’s a decent chunk of change. But because I already have student debt on top of it the law of diminishing returns takes effect. Or in this case the “law of diminishing level of care about going into debt.”
If I didn’t have those student loans my car loan would feel much more substantial. Going from 0 to 1 is a lot harder than getting from 9 to 10. You’ve already gotten to 9, so whats one more to make it 10 right?
The danger of debt reveals itself. Once you are in it it’s very hard to take a step back and treat each new occurrence with the same amount of consideration you did before. The mountain can stretch out in front of you, and the higher it becomes the less you care about summiting at all.
I try not to stress about my loans. I’ve created a solid plan to pay them off. Theres no worry about getting behind on them, in fact I’m ahead. But adding to that balance makes me feel like I should force myself to take each addition very seriously. It’s adding stress, but in an attempt to not let myself slide into a comfort with debt.
Like many areas of life, it’s about finding the balance between stress and comfort. Between ignoring it and constantly thinking about it. Between a trip I want to take and paying it off sooner.
Debt is a burden, often one we create for ourselves. I think the first step is realizing it is indeed a burden. Hard to do if you caused it, denial is a real thing.
Once you get past that, it’s making sure that burden doesn’t hold you back from living.
This is part three of my Buying My First Car series.