Are you one of those people who know what you should be doing in your life, but you just don’t do it? I think we’re all like that with one thing or another. We all know we should exercise and eat right. We all know we should volunteer and give more. We all know we should spend less than we make and that being in debt is not the best use of our money, but how many of us really take control of these things consistently as a part of our daily lifestyle?
Most of us don’t, especially when it comes to those smart financial things we know we should be doing, like eliminating debt and learning to live a debt free life. I mean think about it, how many of us really believe being in debt is better than being out of debt?
So what holds most of us back from making the consistent effort to take better control of our finances and do what we ultimately know is best for us financially? Here are some common excuses why, and how they can be overcome:
"I Don’t Know How"
Ok, I get it. Most of us aren’t really taught that much about money and personal finance in our younger years, and so we go with what everybody else does. We get a car payment, we get credit cards, we finance our stuff because it’s so easy to do.
But most of us know intellectually that the easiest way to do something is rarely the best way. \We know in our mind what’s right, but it’s not ingrained into our mindset, so our actions don’t follow.
“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”- Proverbs 27:23
Solution: Get educated about your money. There are tons of books out there that will teach you everything you need to know and get you motivated to manage your money in the best way possible. I recommend those that teach becoming debt free (Anything by Dave Ramsey or Larry Burkett). I also recommend Robert Kiyosaki’s first two books (Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Cashflow Quadrant). Although Kiyosaki doesn’t teach total freedom from debt, there are a lot of great concepts in those books that will really change the way you look at money. All three of these authors have had a huge influence on how I view money and debt. Of course, My own CFF course is available as well.
There are many reasons why sometimes we’re afraid to do what we know is best for us. So many people don’t want to change their habits because they’re comfortable, and change is uncomfortable. We are afraid because we don’t want to be perceived as different. We don’t want to be made fun of or feel uncomfortable because we might have to make a sacrifice that people may notice and make a comment about. We’re afraid of change because it’s an unknown, we don’t know for sure how it will work out.
You might even fail. Then where will you be?
Solution: You have to overcome that fear by staring it in the face. There are there are several things you can do that will help you do that. First, you get around people that will support you in your change. Not everybody needs to know what you’re doing because not everybody will be supportive. Only let those people know who will give you the emotional support you need. Negative people who don’t believe in your goals are like poison, so be careful what you share with whom. If possible, the best people around that can lend you support are the ones who’ve already done what you’re trying to do and have succeeded.
So if you know someone who has successfully gotten out of debt or is well on their way, enlist their support. Most of the time they will be willing to help. And remember, going against the grain and not being like everyone else has its benefits.
Normal people are in debt and will never get out.
Abnormal is a good place to be.
“The plan of the diligent leads surely to plenty, but those who are hasty surely to poverty”- Proverbs 21:5
"I’m Just Not Motivated Enough"
Ok, Ok, What does it take? Do you have to file bankruptcy, have your car repo’ed, or lose your home to finally get motivated enough to stop wasting your money being in debt? That’s kind of like waiting ‘till you have a heart attack before you decide to quit smoking. At that point, recovery is a much more difficult road.
Solution: You have to get mad! You have to get fed up with the fact that you’re paying 20-30% more for your car because you financed it. You have to get angry with all the extra money that could be in your pocket but instead goes to the credit card company because you carry a balance. You have to get psycho because the stress of all the debt you have is sapping so much of the joy out of your life. You have to grow up, get a backbone and decided that you will no longer tolerate it and you will do something about it.
That’s what it takes.
Yes, getting out of debt involves some amount of work and discipline, but I’ve never met anyone who took on that challenge and succeeded that regretted doing it. It’s absolutely worth it and will make your life better.
I’ve also met many people who have been perpetually in debt for decades, who said they always knew they should get out of debt, but never did. They express regret over years of stress, wasted money, and wasted time. They regretted not doing what they knew was best for them because they just never took that step. Don’t end up regretting in your later years the way you’ve lived your financial life.
Do something about it now.
Overcome the excuses.
You can do it.
My wife and I did and I’ve seen many others do it too. Your life will never be the same!
Article originally published on Celebrating Financial Freedom. Used with permission.
Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self study course. His book How to Budget: The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works is now available (more info here). He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.
Publication date: August 28, 2013