Rising Up Out Of Debt: Don't Worry About the Joneses & Focus on You

By Dominica

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Last Updated: April 2, 2022

Getting out of debt is certainly easier said than done, but it is extremely important if you really want to experience financial freedom in your life. Unfortunately, debt is a major problem around the world. 

Not only are individuals in debt, but countries are indebted to each other as well.  It is far too easy to borrow money and unless you are quite disciplined to pay it right off, it can accumulate and get out of hand.

 

Why Are People in Debt?  

As soon as a teenager turns 18, credit card companies begin sending them credit card offers in the mail.

Credit cards are not necessarily a bad thing. Having one can help you boost your credit score. However, what happens much of the time is that people charge more than they can afford to pay off.

Month after month and year after year, the credit card debt grows and before they know it, they’re in way over their head. They feel trapped and don’t know how to get out of it.

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I wish I could say I never fell into this trap, but I did – a couple of times.  When I was young, it was easy to accumulate credit card debt. While I never bought high-ticket items, I did buy low-ticket items that added up. 

After all, $20 and $50 products add up quickly. Then, I’d get disgusted and disappointed with myself. I'd get serious about disciplining myself financially and start paying those debts off.

I did this a couple of times before I realized the core issues I was dealing with.

I was buying little things that I did not necessarily need just for the hit of the “feel good chemicals” that came with purchasing something.

Then I got serious with how I wanted to live my life financially and cut out unnecessary spending. I never wanted to fall into the credit card trap again. This took a good many years to get there, but if you're struggling with this, I assure you that you can find freedom and it feels incredible. Be diligent about self-discipline.

Many people also acquire loans like auto, mortgage, and personal loans. Getting these types of loans are alright if you can adequately pay for them. However, if you’re already struggling financially, it’s best to avoid loans at all. 

 

Keeping Up With The Joneses 

Many people think they have to keep up with the Joneses.

Who are the Joneses? They represent the people that are living the so-called “American Dream”. They have a large, upscale home, two brand new luxury cars, eat only at fine-dining restaurants, only wear famous brand name clothing, and spend big bucks on “toys”. 

The Joneses think that those things make them look more successful in the eyes of others. Of course, if you have a lot of money (financial security) and can easily afford upscale, luxury items, great. Do what you desire, as there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if the truth is that if you can’t really afford those things, yet you buy them anyway because you want others to see you as affluent, you are deceiving and hurting yourself in the long run.  

Most people really don’t care if you live in a moderate or luxury home. Stick with what you can adequately afford and be content with that. If you stretch yourself all the time so you can look better, sure, you might look better, but you’ll carry a lot of unnecessary stress.

 

Begin To Climb Out Of Debt 

Tally up all of your debt and then make a plan to begin to crawl out. 

If you need help, see a financial advisor for some assistance. You might think you are beyond help, but you’re not. Little by little, year after year, you can be tackling your debt issues. You might have to work more hours, cut down, downsize, etc. but it will be well worth it when you finally find financial freedom.

 

Less Debt Means More Happiness

If you ask people who carry a lot of debt if it affects their happiness level, they will most likely say yes. I’ve heard people drowning in debt say that they felt like a big boulder was on their shoulders. It doesn’t feel good.  

You might be stressed and/or worried about how you will pay it all off or even make the minimum payments. It can affect you and your relationships. Always remember that more debt may mean less happiness and freedom. 

We live in a world that markets plenty of products, promising you that you’ll feel amazing if you just buy it! Don’t buy into that mentality. Real happiness comes from within. 

Sure, it’s alright to buy things, but keep it within your budget. And, check your motives.

  • Are you buying to impress others?
  • To get a little hit of dopamine?
  • Are you buying because you’re bored? Sad? 

Just before making a purchase, do a little digging. Remind yourself that you want to eliminate debt, not add more to it. 

 

Focus On Growing Your Savings Account

Declare that from this day forward that you’re going to make wise financial decisions, especially when it comes to using your credit cards. Start socking extra money into your savings account. Then, if you want to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it. 

  • Is it a necessity?
  • Can you really afford it?
  • Can you justify the purchase?

Don’t allow pressure or other people to make you feel like you have to look a certain way or have a certain house, décor, or gadgets in order to be cool and likeable.  Stay within your means and be proud that you can walk in self-control and discipline. Plus, you can enjoy financial freedom!

Photo by micheile || visual stories on Unsplash

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