Paying off a substantial amount of debt is difficult, but certainly not impossible. With belief and commitment, you can tackle your debt and get rid of it for good. It’s all about getting into the right mindset and really wanting to be free from debt! The road to debt freedom contains plenty of ups and downs and as well as these, you might find yourself experiencing a rollercoaster ride of emotions along the way.
Every Wednesday for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be writing about some common emotions that go hand in hand with tackling your debt along with some practical advice on how to deal with them. So far, I’ve covered ‘Fear’,‘Denial’,‘Anger‘ and ‘Regret’ so if you missed these, feel free to check them out!
Stage 5: Acceptance
After fearing, denying and possibly regretting your debt, there will come a point in the debt payoff process where you have to accept your debt situation for what it is.
This is the super important stage when it comes to paying off debt – the turning point where you could decide (and really mean it) to change your finances from bad to good.
Debt freedom starts with acceptance.
What is Acceptance?
In this context, acceptance can be described like this:
“The willingness to tolerate a difficult situation.” Source: Oxford Dictionaries
When you’re in debt, it’s easy to pass the book and blame others for whatever they did to contribute towards you being in debt. You might be fully aware of how much debt you’re in but are reluctant to make the changes that are required in order to get out of it.
I see two sides to acceptance when it comes to dealing with debt: giving in or getting on.
Giving in to debt
Some people eventually accept their debt and understand that they are responsible for it, but then do nothing about it. They accept the situation they are in and sort of ‘give up’ or resign themselves to the fact that their lives will contain debt to some extent. They carry on as they are without making any real changes to their lifestyles.
Getting on past your debt
Others accept their debt and decide that they really want to make progress in tackling it. They’ve had enough of feeling the burden of debt and think that their debt has caused enough damage already. They want to experience debt freedom more than anything.
It’s what you do with this emotion that really counts. Take your situation for what is it and decide to change. You won’t regret it!
How to embrace this emotion:
Believe that you can get out of debt
When you face up to the fact that your debt is an issue, don’t go the other way and give in. Debt does not have to defeat you. Accepting your debt could mean the start of your journey to debt freedom.
Whilst it might seem like you can’t do anything about your debt other than make the minimum payments, you’re probably wrong. If you look hard enough, you will find ways to save money in your monthly budget. Maybe you don’t even have a monthly budget? Well that’s a starting point for sure.
You could save money on your food shopping by planning your meals in advance and buying in bulk. Shopping around and swapping your Utility provider could also save you a few quid, not to mention cancelling all the stuff that you don’t really need like gym memberships or subscriptions to magazines. Go through your spending with a fine tooth comb and be harsh with yourself. You do want debt freedom, right?
If you really try hard enough, you could make some extra money here and there by selling on eBay, doing some jobs on the side for friends or family – you could even start a blog and earn money that way!
Here’s the thing – if you decide to tackle your debt (and really mean it), it will be difficult for things to get any worse – this is your chance to turn things around.
“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” William James
Stop trying to analyse what happened
So you understand that you have a ton of debt and you even understand that it’s your responsibility. But you’re still racking your brains as to how, why and when you managed to accumulate all of it and how you could have let it get so bad?
Enough of the why, why, whys! You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to analyse how exactly you got into a mess in the first place. You might be able to pinpoint a few examples of how you got things wrong and that’s great – you can learn from that. But if you’re going round in circles, nip it in the bud now. The point is to move onwards and upwards, as fast as possible!
Learn some good financial lessons
It is important to learn from the mistakes you made before, but don’t dwell too much on them. What you need to do now is learn about how you can get yourself out of debt as quickly as possible. Look on the internet for debt success stories and follow debt blogs (like mine!)
You’ll realise that you’re not alone in your mission to clear debt and you can learn from the things that other people are doing to save money and earn more. Learn about what it takes to become financially secure – not just getting out of debt, but how you can set yourself up for a great financial future.
“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” George Washington
Get yourself a vision
What does a great financial future look like? Living debt free… well that sounds pretty amazing. Are you thinking about all the things that you could spend your hard earned money on right now once the debts have gone? That holiday that you’ve always wanted to take; that car you’ve had your eye on and don’t forget the lovely big house to put all of your nice new stuff in. You’d have every right to enjoy yourself after working so hard to get yourself out of debt.
But what if you could also build wealth once you’re debt free? Doesn’t that sound pretty darn cool too? Imagine what opportunities you could take advantage of once you’re debt free. You could have more flexibility around your job – being happy at work is so important. You could save for your retirement and invest your money. You’d have so many options. Isn’t that worth making a few sacrifices for?
Prepare to be patient
Once you’ve accepted your debt and are keen to get going with tackling it, you might find yourself a long bumpy road ahead. There will be times when you want to give in and splurge on eating out at a posh restaurant or spend cash on some impulse buy. That’s all part of the journey! If you do give in, don’t beat yourself up about it and just get back on the wagon.
Just don’t go back. A road full of bumps is better than doing a U-turn. Be patient, keep going and debt freedom will be yours.
“The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.” Ralph Marston
Will you choose to the road to debt freedom?
I hope you enjoyed this latest post in the Emotional Stages of Debt Series. Why not subscribe by email to make sure you never miss another post!
Image courtesy of Live Life Happy – Flickr