Struggling to put your finances on a firm foundation? Who’s in charge of spending your money? Have you taken an honest assessment of what you pay attention to financially?
Why all the questions? We need take ownership of our behavior and admit that everything we do, have done, or will do in the future helps or hinders our ability to dump debt. One doesn’t magically end up at the mall with looming debts to unload. That restaurant did not set up shop in your living room three or four times this week. The latest gadget will live if you decide against taking it home. Who’s in charge here?
If staying focused on dumping debt has been a challenge, let’s look at your distractions and create a plan for avoiding them. A little (or a lot as the case may require) life adjustment is doable; if you want it bad enough. Just until you reach your debt free goal.
- Stop looking at magazines. If the magazine is mostly ads enticing you to spend money, put it down. Cancel the subscription – at least temporarily. It’s hard to follow the latest trends if you don’t know what they are. Besides, your closet is already fabulous – I’m sure.
- Monitor what you watch. The Real Housewives of whatever (pick your poison) is a train wreck. We don’t want to look, but can’t look away. Or can we? Bad behavior is more palatable when draped in brand name outfits (I guess) and freshly manicured nails.
Advertising influences spending habits and marketers are spending billions to deliver their messages through the air waves. It seems likely that the tendency toward excess displayed on certain shows can also influence our attitudes toward stuff and thus our spending habits. If reigning in spending is an issue, watch what you’re watching. It may help…in more ways than one.
- Hang out with your financially responsible friend. Everybody has at least one. If not, become the fiscally mature bud for your circle. Birds of a feather…remember. Surround yourself with people working on productive goals and you’ll be less likely to stay down if you fall off the debt dump bandwagon.
- Feed your mind productive things. Are you reading subjects that will enhance your future or expand your mind? Add something productive into the rotation. A visit to the local library won’t a dime – unless you ignore due dates.
- Stop carrying credit cards. There is absolutely no reason to keep a credit card in your wallet on a daily basis. Cash or debit cards will take you everywhere. You can’t overspend with cash and the bank will at least limit the damage to available funds. If you are carrying a credit card balance and don’t want to cut them up, freeze them on ice like our friends from the Debt Free Squad suggest to stop the bleeding.
I want to emphasize two things here today:
- You don’t need another <insert your item of choice here> right now. If dumping debt is a goal, let’s make it a priority.
- If you’re not making progress, then you’re not serious enough.
You might get tired. Frugal Fatigue is a very real phenomenon. Make up your mind to fight through it. In order to dump debt, you’ll need to do things differently. Here are a few ideas to help you stay focused:
- Figure out your debt free date. Having an end date may help keep you motivated. If that date is too far off, focus on the next milestone. Use this calculator to determine that date.
- Start scheduling regular Finance Committee meetings (budget review sessions) – even if yours is a committee of 1.
- Find ways to enjoy life while dumping debt. This may be a long process, figure out budget-friendly ways to enjoy the ride.
What distractions are preventing you from making traction – financially speaking?
Before you go, get your FREE copy of our tips to save more money as you commit to Pay Cash for Christmas!