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Live a Satisfying Life Free of Debt

Jul 21, 2008
When I started my journey to financial balance in 1997, I couldn't imagine life without my MasterCard. Looking back, I can see that a fifth pair of black shoes or another meal out was not essential for my life's happiness, although at the time they seemed important.

You have probably heard the phrase, "you never have enough of what you don't need." Keep it in mind the next time you feel the need to charge a non-essential item, such as another pair of shoes or expensive entertainment. It may be that this is not really a need but a "want," and the impulse purchase temporarily satisfies some unmet emotional need, which has nothing to do with the purchase.

Why do we debt? Compulsive spending and debting are like an addiction, as a person will continue the behavior in spite of negative consequences. For some, shopping is used as a distraction, a way to feel good about ourselves, to manage our feelings and even to avoid pain.

Money can only solve money problems. If you stop and honestly look at what is going on, perhaps you will see that what you really need is not the new outfit or the expensive meal but something as simple as connecting with others or spending time on a hobby that can fill a much deeper need. But before you start exploring this, let's look at what debting does to our lives.

America has become a nation of debtors, encouraged in large part by the credit card companies. Debting keeps us in vagueness and denial about the amount of money we are spending. You need to have a clear picture of how much money is coming in...and where it's going.

Some facts:

A person spends 23% more when they use plastic, than when paying cash. We cannot get ahead by continuing to incur more debt.

A $3500 charge on your credit card at 18% interest paying the minimum amount will take 40 years to pay off and cost you $9,431 in interest.

50% of the people who file for bankruptcy do so more than once.

Department stores make more money on the interest they charge you than on the merchandise they sell you. Take back your financial power!

1. Commit to paying off debt

2. Save for those unexpected expenses, as they will occur

3. Establish a spending plan; track your income and expenditures

4. Learn the difference between a need and a want, and how to get them met without spending money you don't have

5. Negotiate with your creditors, if necessary, to pay off debt. This can feel daunting but it can be done.
About the Author
Shelley Bayol became a Financial Recovery Counselor after her own relationship with money drove her to over $25,000 in credit card debt. Little by little, she paid off her credit cards, stopped spending impulsively and gained peace of mind and serenity around her financial life. Contact Shelley at her website www.findingfinancialbalance.com
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