If you have red blood flowing through your veins, you likely have had this conflict bouncing around in your head: "I'm paying off debt" and “you only live once”.
It's not surprising and don't worry, you're not weird, at least not yet in the way that we want you to be weird. :)
As a warning, I will say that this temptation can tend to get worse once you've made the decision to destroy your debt.
That's when the scarcity bug can swoop in and bite you on the back of the neck and try to reactivate your blind consumerism.
But, to be successful in this process, you’ll just have to get used to "buy it now" bug showing up regularly while at the same time developing the defenses to not succumb to this constant temptation to say, "you only live once".
And I’m here to encourage you squash that bug even before he lands on your neck.
Actually, it's important to remember that you’re ALWAYS going to be caught between these two opposing ideas.
Sure, it will subside as you develop your own, "No, I'm on a budget" muscles and garner some success in budgeting and debt elimination, but it will always be there in some form.
This post will be all about developing some guardrails around your plan so that you stay on track and cross the rubicon into debt freedom.
That's where I'm dying to help you get. It's amazing over here, believe me!
And by the way, your plan can't just be a "rock, paper, scissors" kind of plan.
You need an actual framework that is solid like: “8 Steps To Erase Debt” to help you deal with the onslaught of temptation when it comes.
And... it will definitely come.
It may not seem like it right now, but in short order you'll see that this debt elimination thing is not like playing "patty cakes", it's straight up war!
The Joneses and the marketing industrial complex are out to win. So you must enter into this conflict with some serious weapons if you want to win.
The marketing industrial complex is working overtime to manipulate you into more debt at every moment.
Between our social circles (aka, The Joneses) and the pervasive marketing industrial complex, the phrase “you only live once” is simultaneously bull-horned at us and menacingly whispered to us, both in manipulative concert.
And if we've decided to skewer our debt, it’s meant to win us back over to or recently former ways.
We’re quite literally bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages and not-so-subtle social pressures daily that try to encourage us to stray from the plan. Don’t do it!
Check out this related article: The Truth About The Marketing Industrial Complex And Your Debt
And, if this temptation hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.
The conversation in your head will probably go something like this:
“I’ve been working so hard to pay off this debt, I'm exhausted, burned out and I really deserve this cruise!”
Or it could be something like:
“I’ve been slaving away working three jobs and selling everything that’s not nailed to the floor, I deserve to to lease this brand new fully loaded 4Runner!” “I mean, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, right?!”
Of course I'm over dramatizing but can you see how that works?
It starts as a flake of “harmless" flour and rolls downhill until it's gained the girth of an overstuffed glazed donut!
But you have to force yourself to (or get an accountability partner to help you) press pause when “you only live once” shows up.
Because the truth is, if you can’t pay cash for it, you actually don’t deserve it.
Remember, this debt elimination process involves the practice of learning to stop lying to ourselves about money.
And lying to yourself about money is exactly what got you into the hole we're helping you to climb out of.
I know it’s hard at first, but you’ll get better at it, trust me.
So whether it’s a big ticket items like the two just mentioned, or a “deserved” trip to the mall for some "retail therapy”, the issue is the same no matter the size of the price tag.
And that issue is contentment and the lack of it that caused you to live beyond your means.
You've got to get to the place of being contented no matter what the circumstances. Not easy I know, but we'll get there.
It might just mean a little tough love with ourselves for a while.
“You only live once” is like the magic phrase that immediately creates your “out” from working the plan.
Don’t let it happen! Don’t give in!
Go back to the plan and force yourself (or your accountability partner) to remember all the reasons you’ve engaged in this war against debt.
If you give in, you’re just writing a bad check that your future self will have to pay with fees and penalties (and probably won’t like you very much for it).
It is true, you do only live once.
But the real question is, what do you want that life to look like?
Do you want it to look like more of the same fear, anxiety, dread and negativity that being in debt has brought you?
Or would you rather have eliminated your debt, been at peace financially and be experiencing the options that freedom brings?
I’m guessing it’s the latter no matter how much unpleasantness you’re experiencing right now.
So, don’t let temporary madness prolong your misery.
Don’t let your “friends” guilt you into more slavery. That’s all it is, more slavery.
And by the way, let me say again that you don’t “deserve” it.
You don’t deserve things you can’t pay for. You’re really just stealing from yourself in the future.
So, unless you totally hate yourself, you don’t “deserve” to take on more debt.
It’s just more of what our friend Dave Ramsey calls “stupid tax”.
So think of this as your stupid tax elimination and avoidance plan.
It's hard, but you can do this. I promise...
I know it is. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. it’s hard. It’s frustratingly slow and a downright slog sometimes. You feel like giving up at many points.
But, I want to make a promise to you right now. IT’S WORTH IT!
Yes, I know I just yelled at you. Sorry about that (a little). I’m just trying to make the point: hang in there, don’t quit.
IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT!
I know this both from personal experience as well as from having worked with hundreds of coaching clients and subscribers over the years.
Without exception, every single one of them says the same thing: “It was totally worth it!”
So, if you're discouraged, hang in there. It will get better, I promise.
So, the next time “you only live once" happens, which it surely will. Have a plan to interrupt it.
Like I mentioned earlier, maybe that’s “white knuckling” it and rereading the “8 Steps To Erase Debt” plan again and/or reaching out to an accountability partner or coach.
Maybe it's leaving a comment on this post being vulnerable about your struggle.
I guarantee if you're struggling with it, someone else is too and they'd likely reciprocate your vulnerability.
Whatever the strategy, just stop and try to remember why you’re doing this in the first place and why you’ve decided to walk this road to financial peace. You don’t want to prolong your suffering by piling on any more bad financial decisions.
And, as always, we’re here to talk you out of that bad purchase the next time you’re tempted! :)
If you have red blood flowing through your veins, chances are you're caught between these two thought processes:
0. Stop All Retirement Investing (Until Step 4)2. Starter Emergency Fund of $10003. Eliminate Debts Smallest To Largest (a.k.a The Debt Snowball)4. Full Emergency Fund of 3-6+ Months’ Expenses5. Invest A Minimum of 15% Income Into Retirement Accounts (and increase savings rate to 50%+ if possible)6. College Funding (if applicable)7. Pay Off The Home Mortgage8. Build Wealth, Serve, Be Ridiculously Generous And Go FI (Financial Independence)!