What To Do When You’ve Racked Up More Debt – When you slip up on your debt free journey, it’s important not to let it ruin all of your progress! Here’s how
Tell me if this sounds familiar to you: you decided that you are going to finally get out of debt. You commit to it and even make a printable detailing your debt that you have. Yes, this is happening! But then your favorite store has a huge sale and all of that excitement about getting out of debt gets replaced with excitement for that new purse.
This is all too common for people trying to get out of debt. But here’s the great thing: a slip up does not equal a failure!
If you’ve spent your whole life just whipping out a credit card, it’s going to take a while to break that habit. But here’s the good news: it’s not just you. You are SO not alone in that struggle!
Today, I’m going to share with you what to do when you’ve racked up more debt.
This is a guest post from my friend Sandie. Sandie is a fellow blogger and a debt destroyer! You can check out more from Sandie at her blog Fulfilled for Less. Today, she’s going to share with your what to do when you’ve racked up more debt.
What To Do When You’ve Racked Up More Debt
It happens to the best of us.
You’re rocking along, paying off debt and hitting your financial goals, when all of a sudden you see something that you really want.
Maybe it’s on sale for a really good price. Your fear of missing out is so strong that you pull out the credit card that you kept open “just for emergencies” and buy that item without a second thought.
That is… until you realize what you’ve just done. That item that you “needed” just added another $500 to your debt. That credit card that you worked so hard to pay off has a balance again, all in the matter of a few seconds.
I know how it feels. I have done this exact thing. I’ve purchased something with a credit card only to be left with the guilt and shame of buying something I can’t afford.
But I’ve also come out on the other side. So if you’re like me and you’ve racked up more debt while trying to pay it off, here is what you need to do.
Related post: How to Make Saving Money Easy
Cut Up the Credit Card For Good
First things first: get rid of the credit card. That card that you kept open “just in case” is causing more damage than it’s worth. Even if you don’t plan to use it, it’s still there in your wallet or in your home somewhere, just waiting for the chance to be used.
If you’re leaving a card open for emergencies, save up $1,000 for an emergency fund instead. While a credit card can feel like a safety net, if you don’t have very strong willpower, it’s just not a good idea.
Remove that temptation from your subconscious. Cut up the credit card for good.
Related post: Save Money Automatically: An Honest Review of Digit
Return What You Just Bought
If you are still in the return policy time frame, consider returning the item. I know this will be hard to do since this is something you really wanted. But think for a minute..do you really want to have to pay that debt off again?
Do you really want that item if it means you had to go into debt for it? Wouldn’t it feel better to purchase it in the future, when you are debt-free (and guilt-free)?
Related post: 10 Habits of Highly Frugal People
If You Can’t Return It…
Think of what you can do to come up with that money fast. This is so you don’t get discouraged and completely halt your debt payoff process. To earn some extra money fast, can you:
- Babysit so some of your friends can have a date night?
- Give someone’s home a good, detailed cleaning?
- Sell something that you don’t need or use anymore?
Rack your brain to come up with some ideas for earning that money back. Even if you can’t pay the whole purchase off in full, you’ll make a good dent in keeping your debt at bay.
Related post: 7 Survey Sites that Are Actually Worth It
Start Saving Up
Promise yourself right now that no matter what, you are done with debt. Using a credit card to buy something you want is no longer an option. Personal loans, car loans, etc. are not an option. Instead, start saving up for those big purchases you have planned.
You can even set a “splurge” line in your budget. I set aside $20 a month towards my splurge fund so that when I feel like treating myself I can use that money guilt-free.
Think of all the things you might want in the near future. Is your purse looking a little worn out? Have you bought any new clothes in the last year?
Start saving up for those purchases that you don’t think about every day. That way when you are ready to shop, you’ll have the money set aside to hit those good sales.
Related post: Money Saving Hacks from an Extreme Cheapskate
The debt payoff journey is usually a long one. You have to stay motivated along the way, or it gets much easier to slip up and rack up more debt from time to time. Some of my favorite ways to stay motivated while paying off debt are:
- Reading motivational books
- Listening to money podcasts
- Thinking about my goals and visualizing my debt-free future
- Talking to others who are going through it too
When you’re tempted to rack up more debt or give up on paying it off, try some of those methods. A little boost of encouragement is usually all you need to keep going!
Related post: How to Save Money When You Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Finally, we are all human. We all make some pretty crazy decisions and justify big purchases even when we can’t truly afford them.
Don’t let this one slip up get you down. Every mistake we make is really a learning experience, so learn from it. Choose right now that this won’t happen again. Fear of missing out and getting what we want when we want it is strong, but it’s not a good enough reason to dig yourself deeper into debt.
Use this experience as a motivator to get out of debt even faster. Just think of all the things you can do with your money when you’re debt free!
About the Author
Sandie is on the journey to pay off all her debt and live life with fulfillment. She and her husband are currently in the process of selling their 2200 square foot home to live full time in an RV, save money, and travel the US. Follow along with her journey at Fulfilled for Less, her blog where she shares tips on paying off debt, saving money, and living your best life!