When I got my first credit card, I thought I was only going to use it for emergencies. Then I made every little thing out to be an emergency. That’s how I got into thousands of dollars of debt. When you buy things with a credit card, it’s easy because it doesn’t feel like your money, and you have the mindset “I’ll pay it back eventually.” You pay $25/month for something you bought for $500, and you completely disregard interest rates. It feels like you’ll paying for that thing that completely lost its value (and you completely forgot what you bought) forever.
So when you finally decide you’re going to get out of debt and stop the vicious cycle, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to change your way of thinking. You may feel like you “deserve” things (you don’t) or that you can afford things (you can’t) and you’re so quick to take out the plastic and sign your name on the dotted line. We’re comfortable thinking there’s “good debt” like student loans or mortgages and car loans, when we know in the back of our mind we can get an education, a house, and a car by only paying for it once, and not over the years.
Getting out of debt can feel like one of the biggest accomplishments of your life. You’re no longer a slave to the companies demanding that you pay them back their money. Your money is your money again. The faster you can get out of debt, that faster you can feel like you can breathe again. But depending on how much debt you’re getting out of and how aggressive you’ve been working towards it, burn out is inevitable.
The other day I paid $200 to pay off a debt that I had, and it was bittersweet. It felt great because I was $200 towards freedom for that particular creditor. It felt awful because there were other things I would have rather have spent that $200 on. I get daily deals in my inbox, especially ones offering trips to places like Las Vegas for a discount. I would love to go to Vegas, and part of me feels like I deserve it (remember, I don’t). I feel like because I’ve been doing so good paying off my debt, a little weekend getaway wouldn’t hurt. I can take a break, right?
Wrong. My husband made it very clear that a “break” like this would only make the journey towards getting out of debt that much longer. Really think about it. If I gave in to every little break that came in my inbox or just presented itself, I’m postponing my “freedom date”. That Vegas deal was about $200. It would make more sense to put that $200 towards an outstanding debt, because realistically, I don’t really own that $200.
My net worth is in the negatives, meaning I owe more money than I have coming in or saved. So technically, every penny that comes in should be used towards paying back the money I used and didn’t have. If I lent someone some money, and I saw them buying things instead of paying me back, I’d be quite upset. So I have to realize it’s the same thing when it comes to paying back creditors. I have a responsibility to give them back their money before doing things like taking trips, which is what got me in debt in the first place.
Do you think there’s room for a “break” when it comes to paying off debt, or should all your money and resources be focused on paying it off before you have a little fun?