When I graduated college, I had about $4,000 in credit card debt and $15,000 in student loan debt. I thought I was going to find a job quickly, but that didn’t happen. In fact, I found no work at all. I became depressed and ended up overspending on my credit card. In the end I was in debt $25,000 ($15,000 in student loans and $10,000 in credit cards). I hated that I was paying money to someone else instead of being able to save and invest it so that it could grow into more money. I decided to get smart with my money and take control of it.
You And Your Money
Chances are, you have some debt as well. It might be more than I had or it might be less. It doesn’t matter in the end. What matters is that you get smart with your money and get rid of your debt. I say this because debt holds us back in many ways, and not all are financial. Here are some of the ways debt holds us back:
Not Able To Get Ahead: As I mentioned above, when you are paying someone else instead of yourself (saving and investing) you are not going to get ahead in life. You will continue to keep your current standard of living or possibly reduce it. Yes, you might have the newest gadgets, but you are in more debt, meaning you are further behind than you were before.
Lack Of Options: When you are in debt, your options suddenly shrink. Let’s say you hate your job, but it pays the bills. The job you really want won’t cover your bills. If you had no debt, you could make ends meet with the new job. Because of your debt, you have a lack of options. You are stuck in life. Eventually, this could lead to:
Depression: When you are in debt and have a lack of options, you tend to get down and don’t look forward to life. Your depression worsens and you have zero motivation for life. No one wants to live life by just going through the motions, but it happens to many people.
Stress: Worse than depression is stress. When you are in debt, you stress about how you will pay your bills or what you can do to earn more money to survive. Studies have shown that stress can shorten your life.
Get Out Of Debt
So how do you take control of your money and start to get out of debt? You need to create a budget and a plan. Once you see how much you can comfortably put towards your debt each month, you can then create a plan based on that amount of money and start to get out of debt. You can take any approach you want to get out of debt ñ paying small balances first, paying highest interest first, a combination of the two, etc. In the end, the method you use doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you get out of debt once and for all.
Taking control of your money is a wonderful feeling. As you pay off debt and start to save for your future, you will create a new found confidence in you. You will have options in life and not be stuck to a job or situation you dislike. I know that when I paid off the last of my debt, it was as if a huge weight came off of my shoulders. I enjoy the fact that I can save my money and go on vacations and do things without going into debt again. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy the experience and know that I won’t be getting a surprise in the mail when my credit card bill comes.