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Friday, February 6, 2015

Why You're Still In Debt

Why you're still in debt
I call it a 3 a.m. moment. It's the instant you realize that you need to do something about your debt. Maybe it doesn't happen at 3 a.m. necessarily. Maybe it happens when you look at the next credit card bill, or when you go to write that massive check for an unexpected car repair. It's like waking up in the middle of the night with the horrible realization that you forgot to do that very important thing.

So you decide to make a change. You even get a little angry about it. That "3 a.m." moment made you determined to get out of debt for good!

Buuuuut it didn't take. After a while, your conviction waned and now, sadly, you're still in debt.

What keeps people from getting out of debt? Why would someone want to stay in chains instead of living in freedom? Sadly, there are all sorts of reasons people choose MasterCard over being free from debt, but here are a few:

1. They want to keep up appearances.

This is what realty TV has got us trained to do—keeping up with the Joneses, or, to many, the Kardashians. But most people who appear to have it all really have a steep mortgage on that million dollar home, and a lease on that expensive car, and a Visa card that's maxed out. These are some of the most broke people in your neighborhood! Trying to keep up appearances with anyone is nothing but your ego taking a stroll on the uneasy side and it will lead to bankruptcy if you're not careful.

2. They are unwilling to sacrifice.

When Danielle and I got married, I couldn't fathom not going out to eat at least once a week. But it was a sacrifice I eventually made. Now we go out to eat once every few months. If that. And you know what? It's not as dreadful as I imagined it would be. We have since come to sacrifice many other things in order to get ahead—cable TV, high-speed internet, Netflix, vacations. This doesn't mean we have to do without these things forever, but the savings we've accumulated over the last two years is precisely why we are currently debt free! It’s about priorities. Here’s the question: What are you willing to sacrifice?

3. They’re addicted to stuff.

During my time as a UPS driver I had two stops on my route to women who were full-blown shopaholics. It was a rare day that I didn't stop at their houses with multiple packages from A love of stuff isn't that hard to understand, really. I mean, who doesn't like stuff? Heck, I LOVE stuff! And learning not to impulsively purchase everything we want isn't easy, because, for some reason, the more we have, the more confident and powerful we feel. But it's all a fraud! Eventually, stuff just weighs us down.

4. They don’t know how. 

A lot of people get those "3 a.m." moments and want to kick their debt to the curb, but they just don't know how to do it. Our culture, with its mentality of immediate gratification, has trained people to look at their mountain of debt and see it as something too big to bother with. Quick and easy, that's what people want. Hard work? Forget about it! But hard work and discipline is exactly what it takes to get your debt under control. That, and a plan. Thankfully there are plenty of solid, reliable budgeting programs to help you out—be it Crown Financial or Dave Ramsey, for example. You may have to plunk down some cash to get the program or take the course, but it's well worth the investment.

5. They’re lazy.

Some people know what to do. Maybe they know about the debt snowball and they sorta, kinda want to get out of debt. They know how debt can negatively affect their marriage, their stress levels, their relationships, and their future; they know that buying expensive coffees and cable TV packages and newer, more expensive cars and clothes isn't a wise move, but they just aren’t motivated to make a change. And that's... well, embarrassing. Especially if you've got kids. It's now not only your life you're ruining but theirs because they're going to learn their financial habits from you.

Every day, people are making the decision to get out of debt and change their lives. They’re ready to sacrifice and get rid of their fear of change or their addiction to stuff. If you're ready to take that leap, we can't recommend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University enough. It saved our finances and our marriage.

If a lazy, stuff-lovin' bum like me can make this change, then anyone can!

Keep pinchin' :-)

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