The Things People in Debt Tell Themselves

Digging yourself out of debt can be a difficult task. When you’re tens of thousands of dollars in debt (Grayson had at least $50,000 in credit card debt) it is easy to feel like there is no way out, and it takes determination, organization, and sacrifice to make it to the end.

Often the hardest part is changing your mindset and learning to think differently about money.  You need to build up the willpower to say no to things you can’t afford, quit trying to keep up with the Joneses and put every extra penny you can toward paying down debt.

Developing that mindset can take time, and I’ve noticed there are some things that people in debt tend to say or think which indicate they haven’t quite conquered the debt demon.

I will focus on paying down debt when I get a raise and make more money.

Great idea. But all too often people get caught up in a never-ending cycle of lifestyle inflation. Every time they get a raise they just end up increasing their spending too.  Instead of blowing your pay raise on more stuff you don’t need, focus on maintaining your current spending levels and putting the rest toward paying down debt or saving for your future.

Related: Wants versus needs

I work hard, I deserve it.

This is a slippery slope.  When you work hard and make sacrifices for a while you naturally want to reward yourself.  Just keep your rewards reasonable and don’t go overboard.

A nice dinner out or a new pair of shoes is probably a fair way to reward yourself.  A new car or Caribbean cruise is probably over the top. Don’t be like Grayson and buy a Jetski!

My job is secure so I don’t worry about debt.

That may be true today, but when the economy faces a downturn lots of people who thought their jobs were secure have found themselves out of work.  You may have no trouble covering your monthly bills now but if you lose your job or take a pay cut those payments could feel like a noose around your neck.

Debt is normal, everyone has it.

This is just another version of trying to keep up with Joneses.  But as my mother used to say when I was a kid, “If everyone else is jumping off the Empire State Building, are you going to jump off with them?” Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Leaders get to choose their financial lives. Followers get their financial lives chosen for them.

Leaders choose their financial lives. Followers get their financial lives chosen for them. Click To Tweet

Following everyone else into debt oblivion is not a good idea.  As Dave Ramsey says, “If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

You only live once (YOLO!)

This one really gets on my nerves because it can be used to justify literally anything.  It makes even the most irresponsible behavior acceptable.

But while it is true that you only live once, you don’t want to live so carefree that you have nothing to show for it when you’re older.

Do you have any friends of family who make these kinds of statements about debt?  What do you think they say about their debt mindset?


Make sure to check out our other debt articles. You can also read over our recommended tools and resources for those in debt.

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  1. It’s my money, I can do whatever I please.

    And I did 😀

    Fortunately in my 30’s I started getting my senses back and got more interested in paying off debt and managing money more responsibly.

  2. Good article. My favorite part is that you need to be a leader and not a follower – in other words, you need to be in control of your own life including debt, instead of being a slave of debt. Can’t agree more!

  3. These days when I say these phrases are all gone. I feel lucky that I recognized earlier the results of these phrases to my financial situation. I don’t always go overboard but go in control.

  4. Thanks for the article! “Debt is normal, everyone has it” really hits home for me. I didn’t get serious about finding a solution to my debt until i stopped believing this!