First, it’s about two o’clock in the morning and I’ve been struck by lightening. At this time in the morning I have very little filter left and the part of my brain that usually censors what I say is drifting to sleep. This is my way of apologizing up front. I’m going to stand by whatever I write after this paragraph, but if you’re sensitive and if you’re a blogger, you might need to turn away.
I’m a debt and frugality blogger. I hate to put myself into a box, but, it’s what I do and have been doing for nearly five years. At this point I have seen just about everything related to debt. I also read quite a lot. In fact, I might read too much because I sometimes suffer from analysis paralysis.
I’m a numbers girl, so, the numbers ALWAYS have to make sense to me. Sometimes things work, and sometimes they don’t. I’ve had people share their infographics with me where the numbers just don’t add up when I did my own research. I’ve gone back and pointed out errors to the researchers who pretty much just said ‘thanks’, but put incorrect information out there anyway because they were too lazy to correct them or because sensationalized information gets more eyes.
Enough back story.
What I want to say is this:
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU READ, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES FROM DEBT BLOGGERS AND PEOPLE SELLING YOU SHIT TO GET OUT OF DEBT.
Yes, you read that correctly. Back in the day, they would say don’t believe the hype. Sidebar: Ten points to whomever (whoever?) correctly guesses the name of the group who had a song of the same name.
Anyway, there is quite a bit of misinformation out there that can lead you down the wrong path. Here is another news flash; just about everyone can call themselves a debt blogger if they pony up the roughly $0 or so that it can cost to establish a blog.
Now you’re thinking, holy shit! I’ve been googling how to get out of debt for the past 30 minutes and I happened to stumbled onto your blog. Should I believe the stuff I read here?
Don’t believe a damn thing. Instead, I want you to do something else.
Does what I say make sense? Can you find supporting documentation from reputable sources that will confirm what I have said? If you implemented my tips would it make sense for you and your family? Am I trying to sell you the yellow brick road to debt freedom in six months?
You have a bullshit meter. Use it.
Don’t believe anything that ANYONE says to you no matter how many letters appear behind their names. For the record, I never list any acronyms behind mine because they don’t mean a thing if you haven’t found me helpful. Plus, there are many dumb asses out there with plenty of letters behind their names who can lead you astray.
Where was I?
Of yes, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe it just because they have a television show and shout at you about what you can and can not buy. Don’t believe it because they’ve written a few books and now live in a mega-mansion on top of the hill in a secluded gated community that you too can live in if you purchase their financial course. Don’t believe it if they have a well-designed blog and a great back story and write awesome stories in the middle of the night that some people might find useful.
You see, here’s the secret sauce. Come closer to the computer, I can’t shout this to you for everyone else to hear. Closer. I said closer. Getting of out debt, like losing weight, is simple. Earn more and spend less.
Mind blown, right? I’ll wait while you clean yourself up.
Since I’m giving away the farm, here is another free tip. Just like losing weight, it is not easy. You must have mountains of willpower, be willing to work hard and sacrifice things that you like. You want to know something else?
No one wants to hear that shit. Be honest. That’s not what you wanted to hear either.
If I had to sum up five years of this blog, here’s what I would say: Getting out of debt is simple but not easy. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Whatever else anyone says to you should always come back to that.
Is it easy to sacrifice family vacations to put that money towards something else? Heck no! I want to be sitting on a nice sandy beach in the Caribbean sipping on a Captain & Coke out of a coconut with my toes in the water. I also want to walk into that fair trade coffee store and buy a pumpkin spiced latte twice a day for the entire fall season. If I did that I would blow up like a balloon and burn $70 every week just on coffee. Those of you who are already tired of pumpkin spiced everything can just send them my way.
Anyway, it’s not really about the latte. Is a $5 latte going to kill you or your budget? By itself, no. But pile that latte on with their awesome pumpkin cookie and you’ve just scarfed down a 900 calorie “snack”. If you did that every day it would kill your diet, but, if you squeezed one in every once-in-a-while it might help you keep your sanity and would probably help you stay on the diet. Same with getting out of debt. It doesn’t have to be extreme.
Back to the debt and everyone shouting at you about your money. I want to help you. I have a great network of personal finance professionals and bloggers (yes, I said bloggers) who also want to help you, but you still have to be diligent.
Just because we say something to you, don’t take it as the latest entry to the New Testament. Go ahead and verify what we say before putting things into action. We want you to. We want you to think for yourself. We want you to succeed.
Now, you WILL see AWESOME stories about people who killed $25K, $30K even $50K of debt in less than two years. Are they liars? No. I did this myself. But, just know that everyone’s situation is different, and there is no guarantee that what worked for someone else will work for your particular situation. There are also people who want to deceive you into thinking that their proven “system” is the only want to pay of large numbers in a short time. Is that true?
Remember what I said about how to get out of debt? That is the system. But, is that all? Of course not. It first takes a mental change. Nothing can happen without that. You have to be in a debt reduction mind frame to do what it takes, because you will have to put every aspect of your life under a microscope to get big results fast.
Okay, it’s now 3:30 am, so I’m going to end this with what got me so riled up.
Please don’t read things, whether they are in the news or a book or a blog and believe every single word to be an anointed path to debt freedom. Or don’t read someone’s blog and blast them for not getting YOU out of debt fast enough. Or believe that every piece of information that you read is always correct. Or that every television show about money that you watch is going to make you rich. Or that every new “proven system” for whatever is the latest thing that you must buy.
You have a brain. When you use it, it can help you.
I’m going to bed.