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Beware of Monsters

When we first began our debt free journey, we had a LOT of emotional issues that were bubbling beneath the surface. We didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of the reason for our debt problem was that we were spending to quell hidden fears and sadness. We had conditioned ourselves to live with a broke mindset, you see. This excerpt from the beginning of our journey will show you what I mean.

“SO, the first 4 days of our debt freedom journey were peaceful, quiet and uneventful.  Smooth sailing, I thought to myself.  Then yesterday came, and we had to head out for our first purchases of the year, save for some groceries we picked up on the 1st.  We needed a gift for a birthday party that one of the youngins had to go to, and another of the youngins needed new boots.    Her old boots were tight – super tight.  We also needed a few more personal items like toilet paper and some groceries.  We headed to the local Walmart, as they have the cheapest prices in our area.  I got great deals on everything, and although I’ve found that I now have an aversion to spending any money at all ( I admit it, I can be a bit manic at times :-)), I handled it well.  Then we went home, and that’s where the real trouble began.

I’m not sure how exactly it happened, but as I worked on some more budget stuff and encouraged myself by reading more debt free stories, little monsters of doubt, discouragement and fear attacked me like a vicious storm on a warm, sunny day.  I was doing all that I could do, but panic set in, and the little voices started

You can’t do this.  You’ll never do this.

You’re going to fail.  The mountain is way too big.  You’ll never make it to the top.

You might as well just give up now.

I was freaking out!  Sheer panic took over, and I thought I might break down and cry right there.  Then truth and reality came in.  The comforting voice of the Lord was there to set the record straight:

You can do this.  You will do this. 

One step at a time.  One day at a time.

Please don’t give up.  Together, we will reach the top.”

You see, the monsters had come to work and discourage us from beginning our journey.

Most all people experience some hidden “monsters” when they begin to work on accomplishing a new goal. No matter if that goal is to lose weight, to start a new business or….to get out of debt.

If you are serious about getting debt free, you will experience opposition.  Either from those around you, or from the voices in your own head, but you will experience opposition.

Great spirits have always encountered violent  opposition from mediocre minds.  Albert Einstein

That mediocre mind might be your own, or it might be someone else’s, but whoever’s it is, make a decision that you won’t succumb to the pressure.  Not now, not when you’ve finally gotten serious about getting out of debt.

Here are some tools for playing defense when that violent opposition comes your way:

Do Something Positive

Play a game.  Clean something.  Pray.  Anything that will distract you and lift your spirits. Go for a walk or organize an area in your home. Positive activities promote a positive mind. Encourage yourself by doing something that will make you laugh, will improve your life or something that will make someone smile.

Invest in Continuing Education

You might find yourself more encouraged to continue your journey in spite of fear if you read some debt free stories, a book about getting debt free or building wealth or some money blog posts. Reading about those who have succeeded with money will help you overcome your own discouragement about your money situation and give you motivation to press on.

Recommended Reading: Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals

Call for Backup

Call a trusted friend or relative.  Someone who’s on board with your plan and will encourage you and remind you that you CAN do this.

This is why many people recommend accountability partners for reaching financial and other goals. An accountability partner will have that objective view of your situation and be able to bring you back down when you’re feeling out of control, whether it be emotionally or financially.

Remember Why

You do have your list of “whys”, right? Remember, the list that reminds you why you said “yes” to committing to get out of debt.  ?

If you don’t have one, make one; now, and refer to it daily. Let it be a daily reminder of why you don’t want to struggle with debt payments and balances any more. Maybe you want debt freedom so that you can have the ability to change jobs. Or maybe you want it so you and your spouse won’t fight about money anymore. Maybe you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired as you juggle payments and balances.

Your “why” will help push you through the rough spots of your “getting out of debt” journey.

Do Something to Push Yourself Forward

A good way to give fear and doubt a kick in the pants as you’re paying off debt is to do something that will lower your debt balance or help you save money. Revisit your budget, cut something down for this month, and go online and make an extra payment toward your debt. Lower your cell phone bill or insurance bill by shopping around.

Is Republic right for me? Smartphone plans starting as low as $5 per month.

Sell something and put the money toward debt. Cash in your change jar and put the money toward debt.  Just do something that will show your debt “Hey, I’m not messing around with you anymore. I’m serious this time.”

Recommended Reading: How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck: A proven path to money mastery in only 15 minutes a week! (Smart Money Blueprint) (Volume 1)

Prove to yourself and your emotions that you are in control of your money. Those monsters that are working to pull you down and make you give up? Like the monster in the picture, they’re not truly as big as they pretend to be.

No matter how long your journey, or how big your mountain, you can be debt free.  Don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. 🙂



    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Margaret. I was surpised at how strong those negative thoughts came on! As this is a new journey for us, we still have alot to learn, I guess :-).

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks for joining us, Linda! Together, we can win the war against debt! We welcome your ideas about posts you might want to see too! Have a great day :-).

  1. Carla says:

    You’re right! It IS hard, and YOU CAN do it! You may stumble along the way, but if you are truly determined to get rid of your debt, you’ll stay on the straight n’ narrow!! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks Carla! I know you’re right! Just subscribed to your blog: we have much in common! Looking forward to reading more of your wonderful posts and getting to know you better!

  2. David S says:

    Keep up the work, even the small honey bee (a method of saving/generating money) though by itself can only generate about a teaspoon of honey, when combined with the rest of the colony (all your money saving activities) can produce hundreds of pounds of honey (paid off debt).
    So when that voice says you’ll never win take a look at what you have accomplished even if it was just a single cent in debt reduction.

    • Laurie says:

      What a wise piece of advice. That’s a really good metaphor, the story of the honey bee, to talk about the accomplishment of paying off debt. Thank you so much, David! Have a great day :-).

  3. I think that doubt monster can creep up in every aspect of life. If I’m having anxiety about a problem, I usually write out solutions…it helps me feel proactive, even if I never use those solutions. It’s just to get past the fear. And look how far you’ve come since that post Laurie!

    • Laurie says:

      Love that tip, Tonya! Just knowing that there are solutions available goes a long way in combating those fears, you know?

  4. Been there, Laurie. I have felt those little doubt monsters too. Some days it feels like we will never be debt free. Our estimated student loan debt payoff date seems so far away sometimes. We just keep plugging away at it and try to tell the little monsters to shut up! Distraction is an effective technique for me-getting my mind into something else usually helps.

    • Laurie says:

      It sure does, Dee, and I know you guys have gone through some of those same things. The great thing about time is that it often diminishes some of those fears, as you learn to get stronger. 🙂

  5. It’s so cool that you reposted this Laurie! I hate seeing that doubt come in and it’s inevitable at some point when you’re doing something like paying off debt. I try to use it to push me now, though the bad feelings still creep in at times. I think #3 is such a huge one and is often what helps me get back on the straight and narrow.

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, this was a tough day for me when it occurred at the beginning of our journey, John. Here we were just a few days in and already I was tempted to give up! I wanted to share with newbies that even though those days of doubt do surface, it’s such a great feeling when you can look back and say “I stuck with it.”.

  6. kelly says:

    THANK YOU!! you inspire me to continue on this journey of being debt free!! My DH is on board…BUT just doesn’t like to sit with me and do the hard work…so its pretty much on my shoulders…and you know after almost 20yrs I get it. wish it was different but he stress ALOT more at our small business than I do so I am mostly willing to do it this way….MOSTLY ;/
    I am VERY GLAD i stumbled upon your blog thru blondeonbudget blog.
    ok, BACK TO WORK!

    • Laurie says:

      Kelly, it’s the same story here, so I know how you feel. It’s too stressful for Rick, all of this money stuff, but he’s committed to being frugal, so I stay thankful for that and do what I need to do. You can do this, Kelly. Stand strong!!!!

  7. Great post, thanks for re-publishing! I like your inspiring tips and reminders–I think a lot of them can also be applied by those of us in extreme savings mode, not just get-out-of-debt mode. It’s that overarching reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing, thank you!

    • Laurie says:

      So true, Mrs. FW! Often times it’s those untrue negative messages we tell ourselves that keep us from reaching our goals.

  8. I love that reposted this, especially since I wasn’t following you when you originally posted it. The doubt monsters are worse than the bogey man, because unlike that guy who mostly lives in our closet or under our bed, the doubt monsters are ALWAYS with us, living in our thoughts, just waiting to attack. The good news is, though, that they are easily beaten by the hope monsters, the love monsters and the faith monsters. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      So true, Shannon!!! Love your terms about the faith, hope and love monsters. I’d imagine they are cute, like Cookie Monster. 🙂

  9. Kim says:

    Isn’t it fun to look back and see how far you’ve come? Having support either from people around you or online is so helpful when you have one of those days when you just wonder what the whole point is. I’ll be curious to see where you’re at in another year.

    • Laurie says:

      Me too, Kim. We just balance tranferred some of our cards, resulting in a lower interest rate, and I feel like we’ve really made a smart and helpful move there.

  10. anna says:

    Thanks for re-posting, Laurie! I’ve been feeling some self-defeating talks, as well, when researching all the costs of baby care and needs, but I just gotta keep in mind the many positives, too. It is so amazing to see how you’ve grown as a writer, too – this post was great to begin with, but it also seems you’ve really evolved and become even more fine-tuned in your writing. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Aww, thanks, Anna!!! I really think a lot of the figures regarding money and raising a child are highly over-inflated. As long as you guys don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve got to buy/do/give everything for your child, you can get by fairly inexpensively. Email any time if you have fears/concerns/questions, my friend. 🙂

  11. Charles says:

    Having close friends and family made aware of your goals and their support makes the journey easier. Of course sometimes people don’t understand, those naysayers need to be ignored. The power of positive reinforcement.

  12. Mrs. Groovy says:

    I love the tip to “remember why” and of course the “why” needs to be very specific and personal. Thanks for spreading so much encouragement!

  13. Remembering why is key. My wife and I made some of our biggest budget changes when we were working towards paying off our mortgage early. Having that goal was a constant reminder of why we’re making some spending sacrifices. It made it much easier to save money each month because we had these quarterly goals to make lump sum payments against our mortgage. Without that motivation I’m sure we would never have saved as much as we did.

    • Laurie says:

      Good for you guys, Owen!! I’ll bet it feels great to be mortgage free!! If you ever want to share your story on our site, send me an email.

  14. Agreed! Monsters can take the form of other people as well as those self-limiting thoughts. I fight them with reason, logic, and numbers. It’s tempting to say something that’s new is plain crazy and that you should go back to your old ways. But if you’ve done your homework, it’s easy to fight negativity with knowledge and positivity.

  15. I really enjoyed the post, Laurie. I’m fairly neurotic so I have a bunch of little monsters letting their thoughts be known in my head. I’ve found that self-talk is my best way to combat them: kind of having a little conversation with myself about whether the fears and doubts are justified, or are just normal panic that can be disregarded with a little logic.

    • Laurie says:

      It’s amazing the way those negative thoughts can take over if you let them, isn’t it? Talking it out with yourself is great advice. I do that regularly. 🙂

  16. Michael says:

    Fear is a very bizarre phenomenon. Often times, fear makes us perceive things much worse than they really are. The best thing I have learned to do is doubt and question my fears. When I doubt my fears, it seems to melt in strange ways, especially if they are irrational.

  17. Remembering your “why” is extremely important! I think this is a good word for entrepreneurs as well since they run into adversity all the time and it’s so easy to give up or let something drag you down.

    • Laurie says:

      So true, DC. Entrepreneurship is tough. It doesn’t usually come with a regular paycheck like a traditional job does, and clients come and go. It’s important in those times of self-doubt to stick with it. Great comment!

  18. Wonderful post, Laurie! When I encounter my “monsters” now, I look them right in the eye. I try not to get too defensive or scared; I just observe them. Invariably, they turn out to be much less threatening than they first appeared, and I can let them go. I remember when monsters used to discourage me and drain me – make me give up. I think and hope that I’m over that now : ) I’m reminded of that Veggie Tales song: “God is bigger than the Boogey Man. He’s bigger than Godzilla, and the monsters on TV …”

  19. I have to do self talk all the time when I come to forks in the road. I definitely know what I need to do but sometimes verbally telling myself helps encourage me to stay positive as I know it’s all too easy to get sidetracked and distracted. Now that I’ve defeated more monsters it has built up my confidence but I know there are still more lurking around every corner.

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