Sorry for the delay in posting this week. We were having some technical difficulties earlier this week.
The other day I was adding up some numbers to do a mid-month budget check and I was surprised to see my numbers. Subconsciously I knew that I had overspent (once again) in my entertainment/eating out category, but I had no idea how much I had overspent in that area.
While I was tallying up some of my numbers to check my progress and see where my budget leaks are, I realized that getting out of debt is like fighting a war. The basic principles that armies use in war are the same ones we should be using everyday in our war against our debt.
Strategize, But Don’t Over-Strategize
During times of war, winning armies usually have a plan in place detailing who, what, where, when, why, and how they will act. While their plans are usually very detailed, they don’t take a long time to put together and enact. If that were the case, nothing would ever get done in the war except strategizing.
This is just like when you are fighting to get ahead financially. You should have a well-thought out plan and budget, but you also need to put away the pen and paper and take some offensive actions too. Offensive actions, rather than just defensive actions, are how you win the war.
Have Adequate Resources
Many of the wars in our history have been won (or lost) based not only on battle strategies, but also because the losing country ran out of resources. Food, water, clothing, shelter, and ammunition are all important when you are fighting a war and can mean the difference between victory or a loss.
When you are paying off debt, the resource you need to make sure you have enough of is an emergency fund. Without an adequate emergency fund in place, you’ll most likely be forced to charge things on your credit cards and rack up new debt if an emergency arises.
Don’t Wave the White Flag
No matter what happens along your journey to becoming debt free, never give up. Fighting a war against anything in life is hard. You will experience setbacks and some of them might even make you think about waiving a white flag and living in debt forever.
When this happens, it’s crucial to keep you end goals in mind and remind yourself WHY you want to be debt free. Your why could be that you want to be free to go on a fabulous vacation every year (or even more often), or maybe your why is that you want to be able to retire early and live in the woods. It doesn’t matter what your why is as long as it’s something worth fighting for that you want more than anything else.
At the time I started my journey toward becoming debt free, I didn’t even have a defined “why” in mind. All I knew is that I wanted to be able to sleep through the night without having to worry about if/when my account was going to go negative next.
Getting out of debt is a journey and you are allowed to change your mind about your why as your life continues to change along your journey. Just make sure your why is worth becoming debt free and then staying debt free so you don’t wave the white flag when things get tough.
Are you waging a war on debt? What’s your “why”?