As many of you know, I recently bought Wise Dollar from Jose, who started the blog originally. As I was looking to buy the site one of the things I did was go through the existing posts to see what needed a little more love and light of day. That is where I discovered this post on debt reduction and overall killing of debt.
Seeing as I have my own personal experience dealing with debt I saw a good opportunity to go through and give it some healthy revisions. 🙂 This will also be a part of a small series on debt reduction tips and strategies to implement as you seek to pay off your debt.
Debt is Enslaving
Remembering back to my personal debt payoff experience there was one palpable, recurring feeling I experienced …that I was a slave to my debt. I had made the incredibly poor choice of financing my wants and desires with credit cards. This is not to say that credit cards are evil, per se, as they can be a good tool to have in your financial toolbox, but I was using them because I was not content with what I had. The ending result was nearly $25,000 in credit card debt.
Going back to the slave analogy, it meant that I was obligated to the credit card companies. As a result of my poor choices, I now owed them a significant amount of money and received little to no value out of it. True, I had the things I bought, but that was largely crap. If the money I owed was due to a mortgage, I could understand the value of that, but this was not the case. Instead, I was beholden to the card companies for thousands of dollars of interest that I owed for my poor choices. This is not meant to shift blame, or complain by any means, as I take full responsibility for my choices, but to point out that when you’re in debt you’re enslaved to whomever you owe money to – like it or not.
Unfortunately I am definitely not alone in my debt journey as we have roughly $854 billion in credit card debt here in the States. That is a staggering number to look at and breaks down to the average family carrying credit card debt of just over $15,000. This is not including student loan debt or other consumer debt. The source of the debt aside, the sad fact is that when you’re in debt you’re obligated to someone else and part of your hard earned money belongs to someone else each month. This is why beginning to work on debt reduction and an overall killing of debt is so essential.
What is at the Core of Debt Reduction?
Over my debt reduction and payoff journey I learned a number of lessons that I still carry with me today. Chief among those lessons however was learning that reducing debt and killing it altogether means one thing – freedom. It is quite simple really, if being in debt enslaves you to lenders then reducing your debt completely would mean the exact opposite.
If you think about it, debt reduction means that you have more control over what you can do with your money. It means that you can have more money to save for retirement, save for college for your children, save to buy a house, etc. That control equates to freedom of choice to do what you darn well please with your money. That freedom is well worth the cost of pursuing debt reduction.
What is Needed in Order to Kill Debt?
I’ve spoken about this before on Frugal Rules, but the key to debt reduction and killing your debt all together comes down to one thing…attitude. This is not a “I want a puppy” kind of attitude, but an attitude of going after debt like a pit bull. Yes, doing things like cutting expenses and finding other ways to save money is great, but they will only take you so far.
At the end of the day you need to attack your debt so it can be killed once and for all. Personally speaking, it wasn’t until I adopted this attitude that I was successful at debt reduction. I’d start and stop only to end up in the same place – broke and in debt. I had to get into a mindset of making more money and killing the debt. This, of course, was done alongside my debt reduction plan, but this attitude was vital to becoming debt free.
If you’re struggling with your debt reduction plan or even getting started at paying off debt, then I encourage you to take a look at what your debt is costing you in terms of your future and things you want to accomplish and this should be a great way to give birth to the attitude that’s needed to begin killing your debt.
Are you currently working to pay off debt? What have you seen to help you with debt reduction? How long did it take you to get that attitude of wanting to kill your debt?
Photo courtesy of: StockMonkeys.com
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