“I should go out for a couple drinks, even if my account is low. I’ll put it on the credit card and pay it off with my next check.” -Myself
That was me, folks. For years I told myself the same thing over and over, thinking I’ll just pay off that credit card debt the following pay week, but guess what? That never comes with that kind of mindset. Besides the fact that I had terrible habits when it came to my credit card, I was unknowingly buying stress with every purchase. Don’t get me wrong; I’d pay for gas, groceries, bills, but I was also buying useless crap that just added up over time. If I went to Goodwill I’d just say, “Well, it’s pretty cheap and that amount isn’t really going to phase me.” Over time, those small cheap purchases added up to bigger numbers
When I moved to Galveston in 2014, I had recently paid off debt with my savings. I told myself I’d never get to that point again, but soon after arriving I started using my card slowly and fell back into old habits. Over three years I owed over $12,000+ to my credit card company, yet I still thought I could get it down. But why would I keep spending when I knew I didn’t have the money? As a society, we have reached a point where buying is like a drug. How many of you have gone on Amazon, found a nice object that you’ve been eyeing that week, made the purchase, and two days later when you’re opening that package you feel the excitement of the known mystery that is in the box? The excitement soon fades as that object either becomes obsolete or we have no use for it anymore. Then you’re looking for your next kick or high with a new movie, book, or gadget. Companies know our weaknesses and they will exploit those weaknesses for a dollar. Advertising is everywhere showing us that our current items are outdated and the new product is much more advanced. Hell, you can’t even go on Facebook without seeing some form of advertising. Credit cards make these purchases easier and if you’re responsible with your credit card you’ll have no problem, but many don’t fall under that category.
I found it very easy to convince myself to buy that new Blu-Ray movie or action figure for my collection because I already had this collection and I needed to keep it alive, and that’s why I no longer start collections and have even gotten rid of my action figure (funko pops) collection. Sure, I have movies that have sequels coming out on Blu-Ray, but now I no longer have that impulse to buy something I’m only going to watch once.
How did I make the change from debt to debt free? It all comes back to my dad’s passing. When he died, I realized I wasn’t happy with my life decisions and where I was at in life. Travelling is something that’s always been on the table, but nothing was ever done to make it happen. In the past, my parents helped me at times to get out of debt, while I also used my savings, and that just shows how amazing my mom is and how amazing my dad was in life. But owing $12,000+ is a massive amount of debt for me, so I decided that if I want to travel or have any kind of stress-free life I needed to pay off my debt. I’ve been fortunate to have my savings a majority of my life, and I decided that I would dip into those savings one last time to save myself. I’m currently debt free and it is one of the best feelings in the world knowing I don’t owe money to anybody! But not everybody is fortunate enough to have savings to dip into when they get stuck, but I do have some advice when it comes to free from debt:
- STOP using your credit card right now! It all starts with this step.
- Start paying off that debt immediately! It might not make a dent the first few months or year but over time that small amount will make a huge impact!
- Actually look at your bank/credit card statement and see what you’re purchasing weekly.
- How often are you eating out? Are you spending more on fast food than groceries? (Remember when I said cheap things add up over time?)
- Think about what you want for your future. Do you want to owe money the rest of your life or would you rather live your life?
My spending habits have improved dramatically over the last 6 months, but it hasn’t been easy. There has been many a time when I wanted to buy a movie or go out for a beer multiple times in a week. But now I have something that keeps my life and decisions in check and that is Minimalism. Any money that I’ll make will go to my savings or special savings for traveling/future tiny house. Start paying off your debt in the present so your future can be free!
Feel free to email me any questions about Minimalism or if you have any questions about my posts: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Minimalist of Galveston Isl.