“Once I get that raise, I’m going to get serious about getting of debt…”
“Once I get my tax return, I’m going to sit down and do a budget. THIS is the year…”
“Once the refinancing comes through, THEN we’re going ‘turn things around’…”
“When I turn (insert age here), THEN I’ll start worrying about retirement…”
Any of these sound familiar? If you spend any time at all talking about personal finance, you’ll hear phrases like these all the time. Why? Because, most people are waiting until “tomorrow” to get their financial houses in order. Whether it’s a raise, a refinancing deal, or a tax return, most folks are “waiting” to make a change.
Until about three years I go, I was one of these people. I would promise myself that I was “going to get out of debt, just as soon as I…”. But, the cold, hard truth is, I was lying. I was lying to myself. Sure, I meant what I was saying when I was saying it, but when the time came to actually “put up or shut up” – I’d go back to my old ways and my old habits.
So, what happened? How did I go from broke to debt-free?
I got informed.
I sat down, made a list of my debts – and then I took a look at my paycheck and my wife’s paycheck. I realized that we made enough money to cover a bills – and enough money to get out of debt. It was shocking to see how much we actually owed, but it was encouraging to see that, if we really, really wanted it, we could get out of debt.
I got honest.
I like to spend money. I like to buy things. I like to have nice things. I like convenience. But, I had to ‘hit a wall’ – and realize that I couldn’t keep living like I was living if I wanted to have a sound financial future. So, I admitted that I knew very little about personal finance management – and I spent time and effort figuring out “how” to get out of debt. I made debt reduction a priority.
I got focused.
I stopped thinking about money in terms of “dollars and cents” – and I started thinking about it in terms of “freedom”. I no longer waited for money to come to me – only to see if leave as I spent it on unnecessary things – and I started doing my best to earn more and spend less. I started living on a budget – and I made a firm, fixed, commitment to change.
If you want to get out of debt – stop waiting for “tomorrow”. Stop making promises and start getting informed, getting honest, and getting focused.
There are dozens of “debt reduction strategies” – but, the truth is, until YOU make a decision to change your behaviors, you’ll always struggle to manage your finances.
The funny thing is, when you HAVE a plan and you HAVE determination, you’ll be better prepared for when “tomorrow” finally comes. Instead of squandering your raise, you’ll invest it. Instead of wasting your bonus, you’ll use it for debt reduction. If you will go ahead, RIGHT NOW, and get things together, you’ll actually be READY to manage any extra money that you might receive in the future.