From the Mr. Money Mustache blog: News Flash: Your Debt is an Emergency!!:
Your Debt is not something you “work on”. It is a HUGE, FLAMING EMERGENCY!!!
I’m buried deep in a serious debt problem. But why don’t I feel like my debt is an emergency? I know that it is, and I certainly don’t feel good about it. Yet I’ve somehow not been uncomfortable enough to take emergency measures.
As I wrote last week, I have way too much credit card debt and the worst of it is more than $5,000 between 20% and 25% interest.
The correct response to this sort of debt is, “AAAAAUUUUUUGGGHHHH!!!! THERE IS A CLOUD OF KILLER BEES COVERING EVERY SQUARE INCH OF MY BODY AND STINGING ME CONSTANTLY!!!! I NEED TO STOP IT BEFORE I AM KILLED!!!”
When I really think deeply about the amount of debt I have I start to feel the cloud of killer bees come over me. Yet I don’t feel that way most of the time. Perhaps I’ve become so comfortable with lying to myself about my debt that I simply don’t comprehend the severity anymore.
Intellectually, I know what needs to be done. I guess what’s lacking is discipline. I have to remind myself every day that this debt is in fact an emergency and that’s how I need to treat it. I built a habit of living with debt over many years and now I have to build a habit of hating debt.
I shouldn’t be spending any extra money on anything other than true living expenses. And I should figure out how to make some greater structural changes to my life in order to free up more money — bigger ideas like living somewhere cheaper and closer to work and cutting way back on car use and expenses.
Fortunately, there is hope for the future:
And there is more good news, since this is an Advanced blog: your debts are tiny.
I always have a little chuckle when people talk about a $10,000 debt, or even a $70,000 or $200,000 one as if it is insurmountable.
Sure, these sums of money are big when measured against the cost of groceries, and they are not sums of money to be wasted. But this is an early retirement blog. Here we are learning how to rake together much larger sums of money to allow us to live our lives free from mandatory work. For most of us, that means somewhere between $400,000 and $1.5 million. Beginners to Mustachianism find these sums unimaginable, but after a few years, the same people find their net worth spreadsheets increasing at over $100 grand per year due to investment returns and reduced spending.
If you’re dealing with a debt emergency, definitely go read the whole post from Mr. Money Mustache — it’s much better than anything I’ve written here. And anyone who has struggled with facing up to a debt emergency like me, please share how you overcame it.