I know when you read the title you may think, "what in the hell is he talking about?" The reason I ask is that from my opinion, changing your behavior is one of the most important things you need to get out of debt. Yes, you also need money and to spend less than you earn. I did not create this blog to be a "how to" site or to give financial advice, I created it to share my journey with getting out of debt. With that being said, one of the biggest tools for me in reducing my debt is changing my behavior. I have tried to get out of debt many times in the past only to end up in a worse situation than when I started. I noticed my debt ONLY started to decrease significantly when I decided to change my behavior. What do I mean by this? I changed the way I thought about money. I looked back on my failures with getting out of debt in the past and figured out where I went wrong. It all went back to the same old thing; I never changed my behavior.

One problem I had was that I continued to use my credit cards to buy things I didn't need because I promised myself I would pay it off. The next week, I would purchase something else and say the same thing. In about 6 months, I am looking at my credit card statement thinking how I am going to pay it all off. I always said that when I got my next raise or my next bonus, I would use that to pay off the credit card. When I got my bonus or raise, I would pay SOMETHING towards the card but I would never pay it off. I paid off all my credit cards a few years ago by taking out a 125% loan on my house. Not shortly after that, I was back where I was before I refinanced. You can read that story here. The next problem I had was a lack of patience. If I wanted something, I did not stop to plan the purchase. I took out the credit card and boom, it was mine. I never took the time to sleep on it and make the right decision.

About a year ago, I decided enough was enough. I realized that I know HOW to get out of debt but I was adding about as much as I was paying off. I've since stopped using my credit cards like free money. Sure, I still charge things on my credit cards but the balance is paid in full the following month. I do not charge more on the card than I can pay in full the next month. I have an account set aside as a freedom account. If I want something, I have to save up and pay for it in CASH!

I apologize for rambling on so long but this has been on my mind for a couple of days now and I wanted to share. Maybe this post can help someone who is in the same situation.


  1. Anonymous // September 13, 2007 at 2:06 AM  

    Behavior is a learned response. In order to change a behavior, you need to change the way you think. Free your mind and your ass will follow...

    which brings me to my rant...

    I think a huge part of America's debt problem starts in high school. Why are we teaching Micro and Macro Economics (which is pure theory) to people who haven't even learned to balance a checkbook? Butter and Gun curves are probably lost on someone who just took out a 24% APR used car loan (Yes, I've seen it happen - twice). I'm not a flaming liberal, but I don't understand, given America's recent...errr current, financial woes, why we can't start teaching young people practical information about finance. Single Guy, it appears to me you've squandered the first 10 or so fiscal years of your life. If someone would've taught you in high school what you know now, do you think you would've listened? Am I nuts, or is the system broken? I don't know, but it just seems to me that there are too many blogs and articles from 30 somethings on how to fix the mess they got themselves into in their 20's.

  2. Anonymous // September 13, 2007 at 3:37 PM  

    I think altering behavior is hard, but once you do it good behavior can be self reinforcing...

  3. Anonymous // September 15, 2007 at 12:18 PM  

    SingleGuy, it's not just about changing your behavior, but changing your mindset. When you said, "I paid off all my credit cards a few years ago by taking out a 125% loan on my house. Not shortly after that, I was back where I was before I refinanced." You are showing the mindset isn't completley changed. You didn't "pay off" your credit cards...you moved the debt to your home! There is nothing wrong with surfing balances to reduce interest paid, as long as a person isn't fooling themselves. It isn't paid off until it simply isn't owed anymore. And personally I would NEVER risk my home for anything bought on a credit card.