Debt doesn’t discriminate. You’re in debt because the universe presented you with a certain set of circumstances which caused you to spend more money than you had. That’s it, that’s debt. It doesn’t mean you are a failure, it just means you did something and that something now needs fixed. Which I’m assuming is why you’re reading this blog. Good for you.
If you have debt, it’s a reality you need to be completely aware of. Every last cent of debt you owe should be a reality check. If you aren’t there yet, if you’re still mesmerized by debt denial and complacency, here are 5 realities of debt you need to get on board with ASAP.
1. Stop digging deeper into the debt hole
You know in your brain the best way to get out of debt is to cut expenses and stop spending lavishly. You know this. Yet, knowing something doesn’t equal actually doing it. We are great justifiers. But it’s a gift! But I need it! Get over it. Debt often perpetuates debt. Break the cycle by cutting out the excess spending now.
2. Whittle down to just one major credit card
Paying off your debt has the wonderful side effect of giving you the opportunity to cut back on all the cards you have open. The reason you have so many in the first place is because you maxed out the others. Getting rid of your cards limits future temptation. As you pay off cards, cancel them. If you need to keep one, keep the one with the longest credit history.
3. Don’t open a store credit card
Store credit cards are tempting because retailers offer a big discount when you open one, but don’t give in. Any savings is not enough to mitigate the risk of overextending yourself. Just say no.
4. You can’t have everything you want
The one-day-only deal, the one-of-a-kind find, and so on… sorry, there’ll never be a good enough excuse to put something on a credit card. Hell, you sometimes can’t even get what you need. Just like dieting, no purchase feels as good as being debt free does. Believe this.
5. Student loans shouldn’t be an afterthought
Student loans receive the least attention of all debt. Think about it, you acquired massive amounts of debt, likely with no income to justify it, and you aren’t even trying to pay it off early. It’s messed up. I know the interest rates are lower, but it doesn’t mean you should just ride with minimum student loan payments into the sunset. Student loans are debt, so make them a part of your debt pay-down plan.
Your lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. These debt realities need to become a part of your financial mindset. This somehow become an intervention, so I’ll go with the theme and end with – you can break the cycle! (But seriously, you can)
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.