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Excuses We Make for Staying in Debt
I have a confession to make. I’ve been avoiding my student loan debt but now I want to make this year the year that I finally tackle it. Reality hit for me last year when I filed taxes. The federal government kept my whole tax refund because of student loan debt. Over the years I made excuses why I couldn’t get out of debt, and I was discouraged for a long time. I now believe that I can one day do my debt-free scream. In this article I’ll discuss common excuses we make for not eliminating debt and how we can combat them.
We All Have Debt
While it is true that many people have debt, it doesn’t mean that we need to accept it as our personal way of life. In order to get out of debt, you can’t be the “normal” American who just gets by. Sometimes you have to make hard choices, deal with naysayers, and cut back on those things you feel you can’t live without. Debt doesn’t have to be your lot in life forever.
My Debt is Too Much. It Will Never Happen
It is this excuse that caused me to ignore my student loan debt all these years. I was afraid that my income wouldn’t be enough to tackle it. I feared that I wouldn’t follow through with my plan if I set up one. I didn’t make the first step towards making a change. Perhaps you might feel the same way about your debt. You’re looking at the big numbers instead of the big picture long term. But if you take even a small step towards debt elimination by setting up a flexible payment plan, it’s possible. Today I signed up for a debt consolidation plan, and I’m determined to chop off the debt a little at a time.
I Have Other Financial Responsibilities
Yes you have kids, a mortgage, a car note, utilities, and groceries to buy. However, when you’re in debt, it makes it harder to fulfill your other responsibilities. You’re juggling so many obligations in addition to debt, and it causes stress. When you become debt free, you have more money and freedom to take of the things and people that matter the most to you. Consider ways you can cut expenses. Maybe you can sell your car and use public transportation. Or you can cut out dining at restaurants and cook more at home. Buy the kids’ clothes from a thrift store or online.
My Income Isn’t The Best
I don’t earn a high income, and I used this as an excuse to not pay down debt. It’s not about how much income you earn, but rather it is how well you manage it that determines how soon you can get out of debt. One thing you can do is hustle hard for extra income wherever you can. I now spend every day sending emails to potential clients, and I actually had some neat gigs lately. Use part of the extra income to pay the debt. Sell items you don’t need anymore online or to relatives and friends.
I Can Only Afford the Minimum Balance
Paying the minimum balance is better than not paying at all, but see if you can find ways to pay more than this. The reason is because when you only pay the minimum balance, you’re not tackling the interest accrued on your loans or credit cards. If you receive bonuses, raises or an inheritance, put that money towards your debt so you can speed up the process.
I Don’t Know Where to Start
I feel this way even now. But I received helpful advice from my aunt and mom, and I’ve been reading quite a few books and articles on credible websites. I used those resources and now I know my credit score, what is on my credit report, and how much I owe in student loans. From here I can start my debt-free journey on the right track.
I Like to Buy Nice Things
There is nothing wrong with buying nice things, but when materialism takes over your life, you’re likely to stay in debt. Once you start paying down your credit cards, freeze them or cut them up so that you’ll be less tempted to use them again. You can buy nice things using checks, cash or a debit card. A lot of the best gifts I bought for my kids were purchased with a debit card. Keep in mind that credit cards are just microloans that you have to repay later.
I Need to Focus More on Retirement Savings and the Kids’ Education
These are important matters, but debt will put a hole in your long-term savings plans. The last thing you want to do is enter your retirement years with a load of debt. Social security benefits are small at best, and you should have as much saved up with minimum debt. As for your kids’ education, you can temporarily put this on hold until you get upto speed with your debt.