Yes that’s right.
Most of the debt advice you read, watch, and stay up at night ruminating over, is bullshit. “Make a list of what you owe.” “Set a monthly budget.” “Stick to it.” Really????? Thanks genius! Geez, if only I could budget my way out of this stress and madness! I see all along I’ve had endless piles of cash, but just haven’t bothered to pay things off because never made a list! Thanks to this new handy budget, my life is a dream come true! Said no one. Ever.
Budgets as a solution to debt are like diets. They’re bad for you, they don’t work, and they are their own form of mental abuse. You just go around and around, spending, paying, spending, paying, stuck on the debt wheel, full of self hatred and shame wondering where all your money went.
First of all, everyone is in debt. Everyone. And if they’re not, it’s because they are a) 100 years old b) horrendously privileged people who had a lot handed to them c) all the nasty, hard parts of life have yet to whack them in the face. Forget those people.
Now listen, I don’t want to hear from any of you pious saints who claim to be debt free simply because of good discipline and structured budgets and a variety of other smug, type-A personality traits. This blog is not for you, and your sanctimonious attitude is paramount to judging everyone else who struggles. Go eat your hero cookie and bother someone else on a decorating blog.
I am talking to you, devoted reader, who has made it this far, who is sick of your payments and having no money, who is sick of using one card to pay another, who stays awake at night wondering when will it stop, who feels defeated by the very idea of money and too ashamed to talk about it. I want to talk to you, who have tried using the envelopes the judgy woman on tv grinds on about, only to be hijacked by a wedding, flat tires, a medical expense, or a personal crisis. I want to talk to that lump in your gut that makes you feel like you ate too much funnel cake and rode the Leviathan all afternoon.
The Girl-guide, goody two-shoes mentality of responsible and conservative household budgeting as the only key to success is a lie. Line the bird cage with your latest spreadsheet, and instead think long and hard about the following TRUE statements from some of our clients:
“When my daughter was born disabled, I could not cope with the grief. I couldn’t fix it. I felt like it was my fault and the only way I could control it, and fix it, was to surround her with the most beautiful home, lavish gifts, vacations, and designer everything. I was compensating for my sorrow by buying designer home decor. I now see that pattern, and I realize I’m only hurting all of us by continuing to live like this.”
After a few months of working together, my client made it here. Can you imagine if, from the get go, I’d said, “now if we only had a really great spreadsheet, and some discipline in our spending!” She would have throat punched me. I would have throat punched me.
“I grew up poor. I remember having to go get Christmas presents from other people’s houses and food from the food bank. I never had a new pair of gym shoes. I was so hell bent that I would grow up rich and never put myself or my kids through poverty again. By the time I was 26, I was making $100,000 a year. But I had nothing to show for it except $121,000 in debt. Money went through my hands like water. It was like the more I needed it, the harder it was to hold onto it. Once I realized that I believed somewhere in the back of my head that I did not deserve money, it all made sense. When I got it, I’d throw it away. Because I was not a person of wealth. I was not those people. I was born poor. It took me a while to shift my focus, to begin to see myself as someone who is enough, who has enough, who is worthy of enough. And once I did, my habits started to change. I didn’t “need” 3/4 of the stuff I used to need. I couldn’t have cared less who made my shoes or what hung on my wall. Now I always have money, and my debt is almost gone. I am enough.”
Can you imagine if I’d said to this person “really you need to just resist the urge to spend and stick to your budget.” More throat punching.
“We are professional earners and have more than enough. We could technically live on one wage. So why are we always in overdraft and stressing about the future, and where did this $29,000 credit card come from? We don’t think we have a strange relationship with money. We live simply. It wasn’t until we learned about our timing belt – how we were paying things out of order and not able to anticipate the larger expenses, that we began to see things change. Now, a year later, we have $23,000 saved and our debt is almost gone. There really is an order to doing things, and time is money!”
These folks were just logistically befuddled. We figured it out, and they’re running smooth!
If you want to know what the heck is happening to you, so that you can start saving, pay off debt, buy a house, quit your job, or just sleep at night, call us. We talk about everything and anything. We get it.
Our coaching service is free. We are here to help, spread goodwill, and build our community of friends.