People love to say they don’t lie, and it’s an honorable goal to tell the truth. But the truth of the matter is despite our best intentions, we all occasionally lie when it best suits our needs.
The lies debtors like to tell are self-serving, and usually masked in some rationalization or justification as to not make it sound so much like a lie.
The Lies Debtors Like To Tell
I told myself lies all the time when I was in debt. It was preferable to telling the truth. The lies made me feel ok with my purchases, comfortable with incurring more debt, kept me from understanding the hole I was digging myself into, and ultimately kept me stuck in the cycle of debt.
Part of my process of recovery from debt was to learn the difference between being honest and telling the truth. I wrote about this in How To Stay Out of Debt. I’d love to hear your opinion about truth vs honesty.
Debtor Lie #1: I Deserve It
It’s Friday night, and you’ve had a tough week. You’re in the shoe department, and a cute pair of strappy sandals catch your eye. You slip them on and strut around, checking yourself out in the mirror. As you make the purchase and hand the cashier your credit card, you proclaim, “I had a brutal week, I deserve a treat.”
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I said that in my life. It was the number one phrase I used to justify almost all my clothing purchases.
But using this justification for your spending is so detrimental to your financial health.
When you’ve worked your tail off all week, a sense of deprivation sets in. This deprivation is the empty void you feel that needs to be filled up. On the flip side of the coin is the entitlement, the action of buying something to fill the space.
It’s like a vicious cycle, and it looks like this:
- Working hard
- Feeling deprived
- Rationalization (some form of I deserve it)
- Spending money
[tweetthis]It’s super costly to buy out of deprivation. [/tweetthis]
The only way to fix this is to learn how to buy based on what you value. What you’ll soon see is what most people value is the connection, time with loved ones, rest, and meaning.
And, you can’t buy those.
If you want to learn more about what you value, feel free to complete my values exercise.
You’ll see what you value doesn’t have a price tag.
Debtor Lie #2: It’s Not My Fault, Stuff Just Happens
Stuff does happen; that’s true. But here’s what else is true – we know stuff will happen so why not prepare and plan for it?
[tweetthis]When you ignore your finances, it’s easy to find yourself in a crisis. [/tweetthis]
All of a sudden you find yourself in a predicament of your making. You don’t have the money to pay for the broken down car, or water heater and so the only way you can manage the crisis is to charge it.
[tweetthis]Use of a charge card becomes your rationalization for handling the unexpected.[/tweetthis]
The best way out of this mess is to establish an emergency fund. By saving money for emergencies, you demonstrate a level of financial responsibility previously lacking.
You value yourself enough to make sure you take care of you first.
You end your excuses and drop the victim mentality you’ve carried around like a badge of honor and take full control of your financial life.
That’s standing in your power.
Debtor Lie #3: Everybody Has Debt, It’s Normal
Uh, no – everyone doesn’t have debt. There are lots and lots of people who carry zero credit card debt.
Just because most people have debt, doesn’t mean you must have it too. The common phrase, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge…” rebuttal applies here and for good reason. While it may be true that many households carry debt, that doesn’t make it “normal.”
You’ve got to be a free-thinker when you’re debt free.
Keeping up with the Jones’ and wanting what others have are of no consequence to you. Your financial goals are more important, and you hold firm to your resolve to stay out of debt because you understand it’s right for you.
For every excuse or rationalization, there’s an equaling compelling positive action to move you towards greater financial independence.
Grabbing hold of these actions and utilizing them will free you from the lies you tell yourself and have you embracing the truth.