Today’s post is from Chonce, a new personal finance blogger working her way out of $30,000 of debt.
When it comes to managing and improving your finances, setting a suitable budget, saving part of your income, and beginning to invest are certainly helpful money management skills. However these basic skills will not be the main factor in achieving financial success in the long run.
The best way to achieve and maintain financial success is to learn how to change the way you think about money. By far, the best teacher for this change of mindset is debt. If you’ve never been in debt, you can certainly still have great financial habits and an improved mindset when it comes to money. But if you’re more like me, you know all too well about the stress and uncertainty debt can bring.
When I went to college I carelessly took out student loans and didn’t think twice about saving. I subjected myself to lifestyle inflation with every extra dollar I earned and by the summer after graduation, I had $30,000 in debt thanks to my student loans and my car loan. Back then I thought money was simply compensation or a reward for the work I did and I felt entitled to reward myself every chance I got. I’m thankful for my debt because now I think completely differently about money. Plus I’ve gained new habits that I will take with me throughout the rest of my life.
I’ve realized that money is merely a tool that should be managed properly and no matter what, it can’t dictate my happiness. Here are just a few ways being in debt should change your mindset for the better.
Wants Vs. Needs
Being in debt allows you to consider what you truly need vs. things you just want out of impulse. Once you’ve had your ‘Aha Moment’ or ‘Debt Epiphany’ as I call it, you begin to realize that in order to get yourself out of the debt, you’ll need to prioritize your spending. When I first started repaying my debt I remember asking myself, “Do I really need cable TV, another pair of shoes, or a brand new coffee table for my living room?”
Once I realized these were insignificant wants and not basic needs, I began to trim down my budget and simplify my life.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all the mess and forget about the important things in life, like spending time with family, building relationships with others, creating lasting memories and most important, being FREE from owing other people money. To be honest, I couldn’t even tell you most of what I spent money on two years ago, but I remember the experiences I had like it was yesterday. No matter what anyone says just remember you can live well on less without all those wants.
You Can Earn More and Take Control of Your Money
I probably never would have thought so in-depth about side hustles if I wasn’t in debt. There’s something about owing a large chunk of money that motivates you to get creative and explore more options to help increase your income to pay debt off and become more stable. Being in debt has allowed me to think more in-depth about my financial goals and how I want to control my money rather than have it control me. I’ve learned that I love side hustles and I find the work I do outside of my full-time job very fulfilling!
You Have the Power to Change Your Life
When I first started reading personal finance blogs and stories about how people were able to get out of debt I couldn’t get enough. I became so inspired and motivated to work hard to improve my life and become one of those success stories too. While I still have a long way to go with my debt, I now know that I have the power to take control and change my life. Paying off $100,000, $50,000 or even $20,000 in debt has to feel empowering in a sense and it’s a testament to the fact that you don’t have to fall victim to your situation and accept a lifestyle that you never wanted to live.
Once you’ve allowed your debt to help change the way you think about money and your financial future, it will be extremely difficult to go back to your old ways and sink back into unhelpful traits like victimization, lifestyle inflation, and entitlement.
How has debt changed your overall mindset?
Chonce is a personal finance blogger and writer who enjoys sharing debt stories and talking about saving, budgeting, conscious spending, and improving your financial house. In her spare time she enjoys working out, playing sports with her son, cooking, and thrifting. You can read more about her journey to financial stability on her blog, My Debt Epiphany and connect with her on Twitter.