I lie to myself every single day. It’s a terrible habit, I know. I like to think of myself as a fairly honest person (with the exception of some creative story telling when I don’t feel like being punched in the face for sharing my actual opinion) but I’m hardly ever honest with myself. I tell myself I’ll stick to three cups of coffee; lie. I won’t eat the left over chocolate after we do a craft with the kids for their classes; lies. I will have only one glass of wine; daily lie. I will not buy anything online today; really big lie. I will go outside and not care if the kids get dirty and filthy and want to touch me; I care.
I lie to myself all the time. Perhaps most of my lies aren’t so bad. I might tell someone they look lovely when they are having a bad day because I want to pick them up, but I really do hate their new hair cut and it really does look as bad as they think it looks. I don’t think that’s a bad lie; I really don’t. Why? Because that person is lovely; I’m merely leaving out the part that goes, “except for your awful new hair cut, but on the inside you are gorgeous as ever.” See? Good lies.
Some people, though, lie to themselves in a way that’s a little less productive, and it typically has to do with people who have financial struggles to overcome. Those who are in debt tend to have a few similar traits. One such trait is lying to themselves about their debt. Are you in debt? You’re never going to overcome your debts if you fail to plan accordingly, and that means learning to stop the lies, tell the truth and face reality. I’m here to tell you that even though you’re probably telling yourself things that make you feel better about your debt, you are wrong.
You don’t need a credit card
One of the biggest lies you probably tell yourself is that you need that credit card. You don’t. Trust me; we just had this issue when we traveled recently. We have one credit card – an Amex – and it was compromised on the second day of our trip. It was immediately shut down and a new card was mailed. However, that did not change the fact that we were out of the state without a credit card. What did we do? We just used our debit cards. You can buy anything with a debit card these days, and it comes straight from your checking account.
I know what you’re saying; you’re saying you cannot afford to pay for a vacation out of your checking account and that’s why you need your card. I challenge you with this question: Why are you on a trip you cannot afford to pay for out of your checking account? My friend, that’s why you’re in debt.
Not everyone has debt
It’s not normal, it’s not everyone, and that doesn’t make it okay. Let me flash back to my mother asking me a simple question as a child, “Would you jump off a bridge just because everyone else is doing it?” No (but I did learn this summer on our annual Norris Lake vacation in Tennessee that I will jump off that bridge when everyone else jumps off because it is the only way down). Even though you feel better about your debt because you assume you’re not alone, it’s not true. Not everyone has debt.
Your kids are suffering
I remember a friend in middle and high school whose parents bought her every single thing that she wanted even though they could not afford it because they simply did not want her to suffer, feel uncool or feel as if her parents could not provide. They did so much for her that they could not afford that their car was repossessed when we were in school one day. They thought that spending all that money on her meant she wasn’t suffering, but she was. Now she’s caring for them in her own home, even though she’s not able to afford to do that and care for her own kids, because they still cannot afford to care for themselves. Your kids can suffer your poor financial choices forever, or they could suffer now while you learn from your mistakes and fix them. It’s your choice.
Photo by Getty Images