Debt and fat…my archenemies! #haters
Some days I can’t tell em’ apart. They both kinda creep up on you til’ one day you wake up, look in the mirror/open your bank account and go “WTF?!?”
You’re left wondering when did you get so curvaceous and broke?!?
I swear we have the craziest first world problems…overindulgence is a beast. If we’re not over eating, we’re buying up everything in sight. Smh.
The hubs and I have been together for over 16 years and I spent the last 15 of them becoming an expert in all things sugary…and packed on 50lbs.
10 years ago the mister was headed to the police academy and would be gone for 6 months. When he first told me, I was like heeeckkk yea, go…GET, I need a break. Haha, I kid, I kid.
Anywho, I thought to myself…wouldn’t it be nice if he came home to the hot little snack I used to be back in my glory days?!?
Brilliant right??? Yea, I thought so too!
I joined a women’s bootcamp that was pure torture, we met three times a week at 5 am! Negative, nope, never again…but I digress.
I cleaned up my eating and eventually I lost 25 lbs, not completely snack territory, but I was looking and feeling pretty good! He had also lost 45 lbs while at the academy!!! #teamsnack
But I’m sure you can guess where this is going. When he got home we began to slip a little here and slide a little there, making little mistakes along the way.
Before we knew it, we were both even HEAVIER than we were prior to him leaving for the academy!!! All that hard work gone to waste. Not cute.
Girl, our debt was just like our fat…
Most people learn their lesson once they pay off all of their mountains of debt, right???
Well, we’re not most people…we found ourselves in debt more than once because we slipped a little here and slid a little there, making boneheaded mistakes. And each time we added even more debt than we started with. Not cute.
It took a complete financial apocalypse where we lost EVERYTHING, before we came to our senses. We finally woke up and realized just how vulnerable our situation was being up to the butt hairs in debt.
So we launched an assault on our debt and began to get rid of it in earnest. Not gonna lie, we still made small mistakes here and there but we were quick to get back on track and learn from them each time they happened.
Learn from the top 13 mistakes that we made while paying off our debt, avoid em’ like the plague and you’ll be debt free in no time!
1. Ignoring the Root – Ooo girl, this here is numero uno for a reason! If you don’t deal with the root issue of your money problems, you’ll find yourself committing more than one of the money crimes on this list.
It’s in your best interest to take some time to think about what’s going on with your finances and why you keep landing in the debt jailhouse. Are you financing a lifestyle that you legit CANNOT afford? < — This is the problem most of the time! Are you plain bad at handling money? Do you not understand HOW and WHEN to use debt?
Spend some time with this one, because if you don’t figure this out, guaranteed, you’ll be never be free of your debt.
2. No Rainy Day Funds – This is one of the quickest ways to end up right back in the debt jailhouse! Let’s be real here, if you have a true emergency, or even just a large expenditure that you forget to plan for but has to be paid (ie. annual car insurance) you and I know exactly what you’re going to do…yep, put it on your credit card.
Don’t get caught with your hands in the cookie jar…put some money aside for those emergencies and hiccups!
3. Going It Alone – Trust me on this, you are going to need your team of ride or die’s on this journey. There will be times when you need an encouraging word, or someone to sit at home and have a glass of wine with you because spending on eating out is not an option, or someone to talk you off the ledge when you’re ready to throw in the towel, or someone to remind you of WHY you’re doing this when you find yourself in the Nordy’s checkout line with 6 new pairs of shoes.
No reason to sugar coat it…paying off debt can be HARD when there are so many other wonderful things you would rather be doing. Set yourself up for success by having a support network that’s got your back when the going gets rough.
4. Not Negotiating Lower Interest Rates – DOH! *face palm* We NEVER even considered calling our credit card co’s to negotiate lower interest rates. Of course this is a strategy that requires fairly decent credit, but if that’s you, make sure you are always checking your interest rates.
Credit card companies are notorious for raising rates ever so slightly the higher your balance goes up. Save yourself some money by negotiating those rates back down.
5. Paying just the minimums – If you are following a debt repayment plan like the snowball or avalanche method, then skip this one. But if you’re NOT and you are just paying the minimums on your cards and hoping that your debt is going to disappear, you got another thing coming.
Sure, you’ll eventually pay off that debt…eventually. You’ll probably be like 85 years old, but hey it’ll be paid off right?
Minimum payments are calculated to draaaaaggg out the repayment period as long as possible, to get as much of YOUR money as possible. Cut the leeches off, pay more than the minimum…better yet, follow a debt repayment method!
6. Spending Windfalls – When you get that nice income tax return or fat bonus check from your job…it’s not time to go an epic shopping spree. Don’t go buy the hubs the spinners he’s been eyeing (are those still a thing?), don’t take advantage of all the “sales” at Macy’s, stop filling your Amazon cart, and get off of Travelocity.
Windfalls (large sums of unexpected cash) should go towards paying down your debt! These are easy wins and bring those balances down super quick. The faster the debt is gone, the faster you can get back to spending a little more freely.
7. No Spending Plan – If you aren’t planning out how you spend your money each month, you won’t be able to align your money with your priority of paying down your debt. A spending plan is basically YOU telling YOUR money exactly what to do, put them dolla’s to work!
Your dollars are like little employees, if you delegate well, they tend to work harder at making you rich. But if you ignore them, the mice will play while the cats away! You end up with lazy employees just looking for a good time in Pleasureville — > AKA Debtville.
8. Closing Paid Accounts – Once you’re well on your way to being debt free, you may be tempted to close paid accounts. STOP! An important factor in determining your credit score is the length of time you’ve had good accounts open. Closing your accounts, especially long standing accounts can negatively impact your score by shortening your credit history. You don’t wanna look like a complete newb!
9. Not Knowing Your Why – Have you ever hopped in the car and started driving, but you got so deep in thought you forgot where you were going and ended up driving around in circles? No…that’s just me? Well, pretend you had!
This is exactly what happens when you’re not real clear on WHY you want to be debt free. You’ll run around in circles and fall off the bandwagon, especially when you hit those rough patches in the journey. You need to have a burning desire or why to pull you through those times.
Are you doing this because you’re ready to leave behind the anxiety over your money, or because you want to be able to stay at home with your babies, maybe you’re ready to kick the 9to5 to the curb, or want to pursue a new passion?
Whatever your reason is, it needs to make your blood rush and your heart beat a little harder…get obsessed with it and keep that image front and center! It’ll be your lifeline when you’re struggling. True story.
10. No Plan for Temptations – Idk who came up with this saying, but they were droppin’ knowledge! “Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.” If you don’t have a plan for those temptations that are GOING to pop up, then you’ve already set yourself up to fail.
I don’t know anyone besides Lil’ Baby Jesus who can be strong 100% of the time. You WILL be tempted to put “just this one little thing” on a credit card, or convince yourself that you NEED a new *insert unnecessary item*, or that you’ve worked hard and deserve to go on some trip courtesy of your Visa.
Think of how you are going to deal with these impulses BEFORE they happen!
11. No Debt Payoff Strategy – Imagine if your surgeon told you they wanted to do an “exploratory” surgery using some never before tried medical devices to SEE if they could MAYBE figure out what was wrong with you…no, doesn’t sound good? Right! It sounds crazy!!!
Approaching your debt without a method or strategy is just as crazy. Going at this blindly all but guarantees that you lose steam somewhere along the way and give up. There are a million and one ways to become debt free, find what works best for you and stick to it. Not sure where to start? The most popular methods are the debt snowball method or the debt avalanche method.
12. No Fun Money – Going rogue…that’s exactly what you’ll be doing when you’ve been going hard and you’re sick of every extra penny going to everyone else. Girl, just because you’ve made the decision to be debt free doesn’t mean stop living! That’s a recipe for disaster.
Build some fun money into your spending plan, no need to feel guilty or anything…Fixadent and forget it lol! Because debt burnout is a real thing.
13. Continuing to Spend on Credit Cards – I hate to break it to you, but girl, you can’t keep spending on your credit cards and expect to get out of debt. I don’t care about the rewards/travel/money back points that you get. Check your statement, the interest you’re paying each month is probably 10x more than the “rewards” you’re getting! Just sayin’…step away from the cards.
In the end…
Paying off mountains of debt ain’t no easy task! Sometimes the journey can seem so long and like we’ll never get there. But I promise, the rewards are SO worth the efforts. Along the way there are so many crazy things that can trip us up or send us on a major detour.
Make sure that you’re not making the same crazy mistakes that we did. Because when you finally reach debt free, you actually want to STAY debt free!