Cut Through Your Excuses

Want to get out of debt? It's time to cut through your excusesWhile it works great, there’s one still thing that a debt snowball can’t do for you: cut through your excuses.

That’s up to you, because it’s a part of the get-out-of-debt process that involves changing your behavior.

In fact, like so many of us, you may have gotten so used to using excuses as a reason to borrow money that you don’t even realize they are excuses.

Hidden excuses

So the first step in making sure you cut through your excuses is recognizing them. The easiest way to do this is to look back on why you borrowed money in the first place. You may find yourself thinking things like this:

  • Well, I had to get a new car because of our growing family
  • I didn’t have any choice: I had to borrow that money to go to school
  • That was only because my car broke down and needed new brakes
  • It’s not our fault that we’re underwater on our house and can no longer afford our payments — the bottom just fell out of the housing market
  • I lost my job and had to borrow money just to stay afloat.

But you know what? Those are all excuses.

Alternatives

In every case, there are alternatives. If you didn’t take one of the alternatives that led away from debt, like it or not you used an excuse to rationalize borrowing money.

If you’re sitting here mentally arguing with me about how you are the exception and you really didn’t have a choice, you’re in denial.

An example

Let’s take being underwater on your house as an example. Of course, it’s not your fault that the housing bubble burst, but…what was within your control? Your thoughts and actions. You didn’t have to:

  • Buy a house with the expectation that it would go up in value in the future
  • Believe you’d never be able to afford a house if you didn’t buy one right then — even though it was a stretch for you (Translation: even though you couldn’t really afford it to begin with.)
  • Deplete your savings to buy it, instead of keeping a large emergency fund on hand to help protect you in case of job loss
  • Forget to think about what might happen if things went less than 100% perfectly

You get the idea. I’m not trying to be harsh here. Really.

I’m trying to say that once you cut through your excuses and recognize them for what they are, you’ll realize that you can control your financial life to a much, MUCH larger extent than you ever realized.

Let me say that again. You can control your financial life to a much, MUCH larger extent than you ever realized.

Cut through your excuses and reflect instead

Don’t beat yourself up for past choices — just recognize that they were choices, even if the alternatives were very unpleasant. Doing so will help you realize that you can do things differently from here on out.

I have done plenty of stupid things that I rationalized away at the time as being a good idea. But I don’t have to keep on doing them, and realizing that they were my choice is what gives me the knowledge that I can make different choices next time.

You can too. So cut through any lingering excuses, and gain the rest of the control that’s within your grasp.

Let me show you how quickly you could get out of debt. Click here to get the Pay Off Debt app.

2 thoughts on “Cut Through Your Excuses

  1. Great article. Your home purchase analogy is spot on.

    Leading into 2008, people were buying houses bigger and more expensive than the next. Many of these home prices exceeded the suggested maximum home price of two to three times a buyer’s annual income. People were throwing fundamentals out the door because they let themselves believe home prices would only appreciate.

    We decided long ago that our financial goals included travel and saving for retirement. Therefore, despite our real estate agent’s suggestions, we bought a 1,000 sq. ft. condo that was one times our combined annual income. We frequently pat ourselves on the back for that decision.

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