There’s no way to sugar-coat it: Having credit card debt isn’t any fun. A speed bump along the road to financial freedom, it’s an unfortunate reality for many people. If you’re struggling with your own debt load, there are plenty of articles and resources that can teach you about the steps you can take to work your way out of it, but what about the underlying reasons you got yourself into a credit-laden mess in the first place?
If you’re attempting to rid yourself of debt, consider the following tips to ensure that you’re making a complete, lasting change:
Be Honest with Yourself
This is hands down one of the toughest parts of paying off debt: Being honest with yourself about how you got into this situation in the first place. When I was paying off my own monster balance, it took months of back and forth before I realized that I needed to identify what was happening underneath the surface. For me, this meant digging deep inside myself to uncover that I was mindlessly spending because I had somehow fallen into the rut of tying material objects to my own self-worth.
Whether it’s fear, jealousy, insecurity or a lack of money knowledge, there’s always something operating on a deeper level when there’s debt involved. Before you launch into any of the hundreds of ways to pay off your debts, do a bit of soul searching and learn about your triggers. Educating yourself about your own actions and habits is a sure-fire way to identify any potential issues that can be resolved in your quest for debt freedom.
Stop the Comparison Game
In a world filled with envy-inducing Facebook statuses and a seemingly constant stream of media influence that tells us how life “should be” lived, it’s no wonder that we can easily fall prey to the nasty habit of comparing ourselves (and our lives) to others. It’s a trap that can explain some of the largest credit card balances, and it’s something that can secretly (or not so secretly) wreak havoc on the best financial intentions.
If you’re working to clear your debt (or simply trying to avoid accumulating any), force yourself to focus on your life and how you want to live it—independent of what others think, say, or do. This can be quite difficult to do at first but if you consistently make an effort to consider your own preferences before making a purchase, you might just find that you don’t want that thing at all!
Embrace the Process
Racking up debt is pretty easy to do. Paying it off? Not so much. When you’re working to pay down or pay off your debt, remember to stay as relaxed and patient as possible. There will be bumps in the road and new challenges will pop up when you least expect them to. Even if you have a few slips or make a bunch of mistakes along the way, don’t give up your efforts to become debt free. It’s a process to slay the debt dragon but once you do, you’ll feel more on top of the world than ever.