Debt is something that has become part of so many of our lives. Some of it is being used deliberately for things like mortgages, but a lot of it for things we don’t actually need.
It is important to differentiate here between good and bad debt. Good debt is an investment that will grow in value or generate long-term income.
Bad debt is debt created from spending on things that lose value, such as unnecessary shopping on a credit card.
The average UK household debt, as of Jan 2020, is over £60k… Which is crazy when you think about it.
A while ago, I found myself in a whole bunch of debt.. Over £15k to be exact. It was accumulated across a relatively short space of time and created a huge burden on me.
I spent most of the month trying to unsuccessfully ignore it and when the statement would land on my doorstep, it felt like a storm had arrived. It definitely was a stressful time!
Eventually, I decided that enough was enough and that I would pay off every single penny. I wanted to be free of the weight on my shoulders.
If you’ve ever been in debt, you probably know exactly what I mean.
18 months after making the decision, I had a clean slate. Everything was finally paid off. I did it!
During that time I educated myself deeply on how to manage my finances correctly and went on a crash course with it all.
I saw many people around me struggling to pay off their debts, so I knew it was an achievement to be able to pay off that amount in such a short space of time, especially on an average salary. When I started analysing it all, I realised 3 things that I wasn’t expecting at all.
I have shared these unexpected lessons whilst helping others get on top of their finances through my private programmes.
And I will share those lessons with you below to help you on your debt free journey.
So if you have debt of any kind, you’ll want to read on.
#1 - My mindset got me into debt
When I thought about how I got into debt in the first place, it was due to a series of spending decisions I made that stemmed from a bad money mindset.
At the time I thought I was entitled to a certain way of life and would spend money on different experiences and things beyond what I could afford. The truth is, I was spending money on things that I didn’t need, in order to keep up with a particular lifestyle.
There is a Warren Buffet quote that addresses this nicely
“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will need to sell the things you need” - Warrant Buffet
I was buying a whole lot of things I didn’t need, but I failed to ask myself - How can I make the extra income or shift my money management to be able to afford these things?
I was not expanding my financial mindset. Instead, I was just continuing to spend with the same old money mindset intact.
#2 - My life didn’t need to go on hold
After making the decision to pay off my debt, I initially thought that my social life was going to come to a grinding halt. And that scared me to the point of nearly backing out of my quest.
What surprised me was that my social life didn't go on hold at all. I just made smarter decisions around what I did.
I managed to get creative and find free things to do. In fact, I ended up doing more.
It showed me that some of the ideas we create in our minds that prevent us from getting debt-free aren’t necessarily true.
#3 - The habits that got me out of debt stuck around
I initially had one goal in mind. And that was to clear my debt.
What I found was that the habits I created during this process were the habits I needed in order to have a successful financial life in general.
They are the habits that kept me out of debt and also helped me build my finances back up from zero.
I realised that I couldn’t go back to my old way of doing things. This was a lifestyle change. And although my initial intention was just to clear my debt, I continued down the road of refining my money management processes and habits as they were vital to maintaining a healthy financial life.
Paying off my bad debt was one of the best decisions I ever made. I stopped staying up at night stressing about money and I also freed myself by developing better money skills.
If you keep finding yourself in debt. Here are a few things to think about:
I also realised that paying off debt is POSSIBLE and anybody can do it with the right skills.
- How much debt do you actually have and when do you want it paid off by?
- What changes do you need to make in order for this to be possible?
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