Living with Debt

Person in bath

Most of us work or live such busy lives that we tend to lose focus on our spending until the crushing realisation stands before us that we are broke and it’s not even pay week. Louis CK an American comedian did a skit recently were he claimed that his bank account was negative ten dollars. He graphically told his audience that he was not even broke, he was less than broke: Negative ten dollars broke. I think most of us can relate to this.

Living with debt can be a soul crushing experience in the absence of any apparent solution. Your friends invite you out Saturday night for drinks, the family want to come over for dinner or you need new tyres for your car. You ask yourself “When with this end?”

Whether it’s the fact you don’t want to offend anyone or you simply just temporarily give up, there comes a time when you seriously need to dig your way out of the debt pit and onto the path of freedom. For most, this takes some considerable will power. Something we have spent decades without. It will take time to get it right.

Australian household debt is now four times higher than what is was twenty seven years ago and part of the reason it that we have become a society of buy-now-pay-later. We trick ourselves into believing we need something now at the expense of any future interest we might have to pay as a result.

Just like losing weight, we promise ourselves that we will be better next week and in a blur of interconnected moments that week has passed. The secret to being financially debt free is in taking the first step. Don’t worry if you fall from time to time. The important thing is to start.

The secret to baring the pressure of debt is giving yourself a ‘small’ allowance for something fun like pizza night, bottle of bubbly or pedicure. However, in starting the long road to financial freedom you need to make some big sacrifices. Not only do you cut back on general spending, you need to also learn how to say “NO” from time to time. If you are in your last days before pay day and the crew call you for a gathering, you need to assess your finances and either say no or tag along and drink the water. Offer to be the designated driver.

I have been there – It’s Friday night and you’re low on funds and the guys are heading to the pub. It’s so easy to say “What the heck” and throw caution to the wind and whip out the credit card. “I’ll start again next week”.  Next week you feel twice as bad.

It’s so easy to feel that you are letting your family down if you don’t give them everything to make their life wonderful. It’s another feeling entirely to back yourself into a corner with very little options of a life line.

Take the steps now and start. You will not regret it.